Board of trustees’ open meeting informs on land use, Amp, Street View

Rabab Al-Sharif | Staff Writer

Chautauqua Institution’s Board of Trustees held its first open meeting of the season Saturday.

At the morning meeting led by Chairman George Snyder, members of the board updated Chautauquans on current and future projects and gave them a chance to voice concerns and ask questions.

Land Use Regulations

Bob Jeffrey, who is currently leading a group drafting formal changes to the Institution’s architectural and land use regulations, said the group is about a third of the way through the process.

He said he anticipates that the group will have a draft completed toward the end of the season and hopes to make the document more user-friendly and visually driven with graphics.

Amphitheater Project

The Amphitheater rehabilitation project is currently in schematic design, said John Shedd, administrator of architectural and land use regulations and capital projects. It will move into design phases soon.

The Institution has met with consultants on many issues including acoustics and theatrical design, he said, and is taking into consideration concerns and suggestions from Chautauquans.

The Institution hopes to start construction after the 2013 season, he said.

Informational tours of the Amp are given every Thursday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. and meet at the Gazebo.

Google Street View

Last Monday, a team from Google was in Chautauqua using three different types of vehicles to map the streets, said George Murphy, chief marketing officer and vice president.

Google will process the data in the beginning of next year, he said, and then potential visitors can take a 3-D virtual online tour of the grounds with Google Street View.

“You’ll see Chautauqua as it should be seen,” he said.

The Institution will also tie its accommodations directory into Street View, so potential renters can see units and their surroundings.

After the updates, the floor was opened up to questions and comments. Dan Pieroni, 6 Ames, voiced his concerns about safety on the grounds during the winter, when Chautauqua is not a gated community.

His house, he said, was the first to be robbed in a string of robberies during the off-season.

He wanted to know what the Institution planned to do to prevent that from happening again.

There is no perfect solution, said Snyder, but the administration responded to the incidents, including the installation of a security camera system at the Main Gate.

He also said that the criminals were quickly apprehended and many of the stolen items were recovered.

“Fortunately, we have all been really lucky that this hasn’t been a pervasive problem,” Snyder said, “but it doesn’t reduce our concern.”

Nancy Wolfe, 83 North Lake Drive, said she has been disturbed frequently by neighbors’ construction.

Her neighbors had pumped water from a basement excavation, she said, and when she returned in the spring she had a gully in her yard that cost hundreds of dollars to repair.

Wolfe wanted to know if there is any way to supervise construction projects more closely, or require people to put money in escrow to use in a similar case.

The idea has not been brought to the table yet, Snyder said, adding that he was disappointed to hear that her property had not been respected. He warned of over-regulating.