Our Village was incorporated as a governmental entity in December, 1974, as the result of political involvement and direct action by residents in defense of their neighborhoods. In the early 1960s, this area was defined merely as the southern part of the Town of Lansing. In 1963, the construction of a new four-lane highway leading east out of Ithaca created a rapidly growing commercial center in the predominantly rural Town of Lansing. Not even the professional planners foresaw that the intersection of the new Rt. 13 with Triphammer Road would become a magnet for commercial development.
One year after the highway was opened, the first large apartment complex, the first shopping mall and the first motel occupied three of the four corners at the Triphammer junction, and an option to build on the fourth corner had been obtained by the first mall’s developers. Commercial development was spreading rapidly northward along Triphammer Road and eastward on both sides of Route 13.
At that time, the Town of Lansing had no zoning laws or codes, and no intention of adopting such measures. Residents living in the area of the Triphammer interchange were alarmed at this rapid and unplanned development. They saw an urgent need for zoning controls, but the response from the Town government was not satisfactory. After nine years of frustrating efforts to influence the Town Board on these zoning issues, citizens of the southern part of the Town formed the Lansing Village Study Group. Joining together, residents from each neighborhood campaigned for the creation of a separate village where they could enact the measures they felt were necessary to protect their surroundings. On December 3, 1974, a referendum to incorporate the Village of Lansing passed by twenty-five votes. *
After incorporation, the Village of Lansing Community Party grew out of the Lansing Village Study Group as a political organization dedicated to maintaining the momentum of citizen involvement in local government. A fundamental element of the Constitution of the Village of Lansing Community Party is the systematic recruiting of neighborhood representatives, and its purposeful policy is to broaden the composition of the village boards and committees. Today, the Community Party remains dedicated to bringing together residents of the Village of Lansing, irrespective of national political affiliation, to maintain a livable place in which to reside, to manage orderly growth, and protect the environment by adhering to the Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Law. The Party encourages residents to communicate neighborhood concerns and issues to the Party and the governing bodies of the Village of Lansing. These governing bodies include the Board of Trustees, the Planning Board, and the Board of Zoning Appeals.
All registered voters who reside within the Village of Lansing may participate in Village elections. Your village government consists of five elected officials, a Mayor and four members of the Board of Trustees. All are elected for two-year terms. Each year two seats on the Board of Trustees are up for election. On alternate years, the office of Mayor is also up for election and residents vote for these three public offices. Members of the Planning Board and Board of Zoning Appeals are appointed by the Mayor and the Board of Trustees. The Community Party selects and supports candidates who subscribe to the principles set forth in the Party Platform and its Constitution. The Party also administers a Volunteer Observer program under which citizens attend meetings of the Board of Trustees and the Planning Board and report on important Village issues to those who subscribe.
* Adapted from Lansing at the Crossroads
by Rita Smidt (Writers Club Press, 2001)