Village Solars Construction Update, 4/2016

19 04 2016

Heading into the spring, it looks like the Village Solars project off of Warren Road in Lansing has made some pretty substantial progress with its second phase.

Building “D”, which contains 12 apartments, is essentially complete inside and out, though not yet occupied.

Building “G/H”, which holds 18 units, is fairly far along from the outside – cement boards have been attached to most of the east face, and some more wood siding has been applied to the west face. Exterior details like balcony railings and trim boards have yet to be installed.

Building “E” is topped out, and the roof rafters are being sheathed with Huber ZIP panels. The stairwells are still being framed out. Windows have been fitted in most of the rough openings on the first and second floors, but have yet to reach the third floor. Housewrap covers most of the plywood walls, with the exception of the stairwells. “E” will have 11 apartments.

From observation, it looks like Lifestyle Properties (the Lucente family) could start renting out Building “D” tomorrow if they wanted, Building “G/H” towards the end of the Spring (possibly Mid-July from the Craigslist posting), and have Building “E” ready for occupancy before the semester starts. Phase two of the 174-unit apartment project is being built with a $6 million loan from Tompkins Trust. Phase one’s 36 units opened last year.

EDIT: From Rocco Lucente the younger – “We will have our first move ins for 1067 Warren Road (Building D) on May 1st. The other two buildings are currently scheduled for June 15th and July 15th completion. We did get our Certificate of Occupancy for Building D around two weeks ago, but with the various cleaning and landscaping work we set our target for May 1st.”

No loans have been secured yet for the three later phases, and plans are still in the works for an addition across Village Place that would bring the total number of new apartments to over 300.

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News Tidbits 4/16/16: The Real Estate Shopping Spree

16 04 2016

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1. On Monday, the county’s Old Library Committee received an update from Travis Hyde Properties about the redevelopment. Perhaps the biggest development is that Lifelong is no longer moving into the building. Instead, they will sell keep their office at 119 W. Court Street, sell the historic building at 121 W. Court Street, and have free use of DeWitt House’s community room for classes and workshops. Lifelong would also be the administrator of the community room, so rental fees for use of the room by other organizations will be paid to Lifelong instead of Travis Hyde. Lifelong’s treasurer claims this arrangement will save them $50,000 vs. the original proposal.

According to the Ithaca Journal piece by Andrew Casler, law firms have expressed interest in the 121 West Court Street property, although other business and housing isn’t out of the question. 121 is just outside the DeWitt Park Historic District.

The number of units is down from 60 to 55 (though some of those are now 3-bedroom units…the Tines is reporting 57 units total), and parking spaces are down from 30 to 25, all internal to the building since Lifelong is no longer moving in. Frost Travis is quoted as saying he might be looking into expanding the age range of possible tenants (currently proposed as 55+), but that seems liable to garner significant blow-back from neighbors if pursued.

The current plan is to have approval by September, sale of the property by October, and after any final site plan approval tweaks, construction may begin next Spring.

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2. The Ithaca City PEDC had another crack at incentive zoning this past Wednesday. And the consensus is, everybody dislikes it for one reason for another. Some of the development community feels it doesn’t go far enough, while some local activists feels it goes way too far. Sounds like the plan is striking a good compromise if it’s ticking the stakeholders off for not being more like their way of thinking. But, proof would be in practice, and seeing if any developer would actually be interested in pursuing a plan that utilizes the incentive zoning.

On a related note, Svante Myrick deserve a laurel – when asked at the meeting why there’s a housing shortage in Ithaca, he pretty much nailed it – the growing economy, increasing student and retiree populations, and a renewed interest towards urban environments are driving demand higher than in decades past.

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3. For this week’s eye candy, here’s a perspective drawing of the multistory apartment building proposed at 201 College Avenue. One thing that stands out here that doesn’t in the elevations (the latest of which can be found here) is that the corners are stepped down, so the bulk of the building is lessened. The planning board is expected to agree to be the lead agency for environmental review at its April meeting.

4. So I’m mostly leaving this to my colleague and editor Jolene Almendarez, because she is much more familiar with the Elmira Savings Bank situation than I am. But it’s worth noting that Steven Wells, the Massachusetts man who sold ESB the properties, was on a buying spree this week. On Tuesday, Wells paid $224,000 for 508 West State Street (the old Felicia’s Atomic Lounge), $884,638 for 622 Cascadilla Street where Zaza’s is located, and $1.5 million for 402-410 Third Street, a commercial plaza home to Finger Lakes Physical Therapy.  Felicia’s was noted here on the blog when it went up for sale last August for $350k.

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They all have different owners, and they’re in varying physical conditions. The only thing that unites these three properties is all that are in areas the city as ripe for redevelopment for urban mixed-use in the Comprehensive Plan. Felicia’s was upzoned in June 2013 to CBD-60, permitting a 60-foot tall building, no parking required. 622 Cascadilla is WEDZ-1a, allowing for five floors and no off-street parking requirement. Lastly, 402-410 Third Street is B-4, 40′ max and 50% lot coverage, but allows virtually any kind of business outside of adult entertainment. Those are some of the city’s more accommodating zoning types, so we’ll see what happens moving forward. At the very least, the public relations game will be starting from behind the proverbial eight ball.

5. Out in Dryden, the William George Agency is seeking county legislature approval to issue $2.7 million in bonds to finance construction of a new 24-bed residence hall. The facility will affect about 1 acre, be about 15,000 square feet, and start construction this Spring, taking about one year to build.

As the county deems appropriate, they can approve the issuance of tax-exempt municipal bonds to finance construction projects. First the planning committee signs off on it, and then the general legislature takes it up for a vote. The non-profit residential treatment center secured a $2 million construction loan this past January to fund roof repairs and renovations to cafeteria area. The agency, established in the 1890s, employs over 340, making it one of the larger private employers in Tompkins County.





News Tidbits 3/26/16: Big Plans and Small Town Intrigue

26 03 2016

 

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1. Starting with with the new project of the week. In case it was missed, the write-up for the new 5-story apartment building proposed for 201 College Avenue can be found here. 201 College is being proposed by Todd Fox under his new development entity, Visum Development Group; Modern Living Rentals will continue to exist as a rental property management company. Excluding perhaps a small question with where the average grade is to determine the 70′ max height, is looks like the proposal fits the MU-1 zoning; and apart from a couple of the usual grumblings against students and/or density, there isn’t likely to be too much of an issue with the proposal. Noah Demarest of STREAM Collaborative is responsible for the design, which will make be faced with colored metal panels.

On a related note, the Journal broke this before the Voice, and it appears they may have used to the city’s Site Plan Review pre-application as a source. That’s not online for public viewing; someone would have had to give it to them. Which seems a bit dodgy, given one of the goals of the now-mandatory pre-application is to offer initial thoughts to make sure a project is palatable, and to avoid another public controversy like State Street Triangle.

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2. Meanwhile, the other partner in Modern Living Rentals, Charlie O’Connor, is pursuing a small project of his own on the other side of the city. O’Connor has submitted subdivision plans to merge two lots at 312 and 314 Spencer Road, and subdivide two legally-buildable lots from the merged property for a total of three, one of which will contain the existing houses. The new lots would be on vacant land behind the existing houses, which are currently owned by the Lucatellis (the same folks who ran Lucatelli’s next door). O’Connor would be purchasing the home and land pending approval of the subdivision. Each of the two new lots would then be developed into a 2-family home. Noah Demarest of STREAM Collaborative is handling the application. Drawings can be found here.

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3. The Biggs Parcel will be put up for sale. As the county notes in its press release, the county administrator has been given permission to procure a realtor and market the property on the condition that any offers from the Indian Creek Neighborhood Association and/or the town of Ithaca be entertained (though not necessarily selected). The ICNA had offered some unknown amount for the property, which they have sought to keep undeveloped, but the offer was rejected. Previously, the site was the location of a proposed 58-unit affordable housing development, but the project was discontinued when more extensive wetlands were discovered on the property.

One of the big sticking points has been whether or not the 25.5 acres would be taxable – the county wants to sell to a private owner that will pay taxes, but proposals to preserve the land often dovetailed with plans to donate it to an organization like Finger Lakes Land Trust, which would render the property tax-exempt. The land had been valued at $340,000 before the discovery of the additional wetlands, and the reassessment value will become available on May 1st.

Realtors will apply to the county to list the parcel, and a realtor is expected to be chosen by the county by May 4th.


4. A large property in Trumansburg village noted for development potential has sold after being on the market for two and a half years. Local architect Claudia Brenner picked up the 19.27 acres in two adjacent parcels for $240,000 on the 22nd, about 25% off its original $300k asking price. 18.77 acres is registered to 46 South Street, the other 0.5 acres is a small L-shaped lot between 209 and 213 Pennsylvania Avenue. The previous owners used the property as cropland, and it had been in the same family since the 1940s.

In an email, Brenner said it’s too early to comment, but that future plans are being considered. The site has the village’s R-1 zoning, which allows home lots as small as 15,000 SF (~0.35 acres), and small scale multi-family residential and commercial services.

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5. Talk about big delays. Tompkins Financial will be pushing their $26.5 million project back a whole year, according to an interview a Cornell Sun staffer conducted with JoAnn Cornish, the city’s planning director. The project was supposed to start this quarter and be completed in Q1 2017. Now it will be completed in Q1 2018.

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6. A few months ago, the Summit Enterprise Center proposal in Danby was described in one of the weekly news roundups. Docs filed by STREAM Collaborative’s Noah Demarest on behalf of owner David Hall call for modifications of a Planned Development Zone for the property at 297-303 Gunderman Road. Danby’s PDZ is not unlike the city’s PUD and town of Ithaca’s PDZ, where the form and layout is regulated rather than the use. The original PDZ for the property dates from the mid-1990s.

Well, after months of vociferous debate, the project has officially gone into bureaucratic Hell, complete with political turmoil and accusations a-flyin’. My colleague Mike Smith has the full story on the Voice. Rather than rehash Mike’s detailed explanation, let’s just leave it at this – Summit probably isn’t moving forward anytime soon.





1325 Taughannock Boulevard Construction Update, 3/2016

25 03 2016

It occurred to me, while taking photos of the “Lake House project”, a mansion underway at 1325 Taughannock last weekend, that there’s a babbling brook just north of the garage, with a small waterfall.

It’s okay to be jealous. I am.

Since January, most of the wood shingle siding has been attached, although some of the Green Guard Housewrap is still visible. Some sections of the foundation and concrete column bases have been covered with stone veneer, but the large, partially chiseled rock on-site suggests some genuine stone is also being used (when one can afford to take out a $2.25 million construction loan for a single-family home, why not splurge). The front door is still a plywood sheet, but windows have been fully fitted from what could be seen from the road. A small section of the roof remains exposed felt paper, but will be finished with what are likely to be metal sheets, based off of New Energy Works‘ render.

Quoting a press release from New Energy Works:

“Settled on a cliff above Cayuga Lake, the Lake House project is a full timber frame home which will use over 500 timbers to create 4,880 square feet of living space for a growing family. The interior frame will be crafted of kiln-dried Douglas Fir, while the exterior will use fresh sawn Douglas Fir with kiln-dried curves. Two distinct bowstring trusses with steel bottom chords are featured in the kitchen to support the second floor above.”

Photos from the timber frame raising last summer can be found here. If anything, the side that faces the lake is even more impressive. Here’s a render of the “back side”, the view from the lake:

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This will probably be the last visit. The house should be completed by the end of May, and it’ll be a little unsettling to take photos when it’s occupied. I’m not sure a feature in the Voice, even if permitted by the owner, would have the allure of “The Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous“, or just piss readers off. At least two comparably grand lakeside homes are planned along Taughannock Boulevard and Maplewood Road.

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Boiceville Cottages Construction Update, 3/2016

21 03 2016

Some good progress has been made with the new cottages over at the Boiceville Cottages site. the cottages with the red-orange trim appear to be fully finished and occupied, while those with the blue trim have some interior finish work left before they can be rented out to tenants.

Newly risen since the last visit in January are a set of fuchsia-trimmed cottages that have been framed, sheathed, and partially stucco’d, and a fourth set of cottages that are still at the sheathing stage. Peering inside, you can see the interior stud walls and windows yet to be fitted into their openings.

That leaves a fifth and final batch of cottages that remain foundation slabs for the time being, but will likely start construction as we head through spring. Rents for the houses range from $1,095-$1,725/month, depending on the unit.

Bruno Schickel hosted congressman Tom Reed on a visit to the construction site a couple of weeks ago (more about that here and here). The $2.2 million last phase, which consists of 17 cottages, is expected to be completed this summer, bringing the total number of units on the site to 140. The cottages have been built in phases – 36 in 1996/97, 24 in 2006/07, and about 80 in multiple sub-phases since 2012.

Once the project wraps up, Schickel Construction plans to turn their attention to finishing their newly-acquired Farm Pond Circle project in Lansing.

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News Tidbits 3/19/16: A Taxing Problem

19 03 2016

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1. Apart from controversial presidential endorsement, Congressman Tom Reed paid a visit to the development community last week at the Boiceville Cottages project out in Caroline. According to Dan Veaner at the Lansing Star, the meeting was touted as an opportunity for developers, builders and contractors to express their concerns with onerous government procedures, specifically the local level.

Bruno Schickel, speaking at the event, noted that Boiceville could only have been done in Caroline because the 3,000 person town has no zoning (but they do have some type of commission that acts as a planning board). The lack of layers and conflicting comments from different interests allowed Schickel to get the latest 75-unit expansion approved in just two meetings back in 2012, something that he notes would have likely taken two years in other municipalities.

Then there’s this quote from another developer.

“After the site tour Reed spent time chatting with builders about regulations, mandates and costs that prevent some projects from ever being built.  One developer told Reed about an incident that killed a project before it even got started.

‘I tried to build a mixed use residential retail commercial building and I needed more residential units to make the economics work for lending,’ he said.  ‘I wanted six more apartments and the Town of Ithaca wanted an environmental impact statement.  the deal with these impact statements is that you pay an expert $20,000 so he can produce a 50 page report.  They look at it and read it and if they don’t like it they want to hire their own expert and they make the developer pay for it.  I backed out right away.  I pulled the plug and walked out of the meeting.'”

In case anyone was wondering, that was Evan Monkemeyer and his never built College Crossings project on the corner of 96 and East King Road. Which, to be honest, didn’t get re-approved because the window of opportunity closed as soon as the town updated its Comprehensive Plan and decided it wanted dense mixed-use. It’s an uncomfortable situation for all parties.

Obviously, there are two sides. Schickel is a very thoughtful and responsible builder/developer, but others may not be, which is why guidelines need to be in place. But, having watched the battles over affordable housing, and seeing the battles over wind and solar power now erupting in the western half of the county, it does give pause. I never thought I’d hear Black Oak investors such as County Legislator Dooley Kiefer and Caroline town board member Irene Weiser described like greedy Wall Street corporate villains, but that’s the current state of affairs. Using the same point from last week, the county can’t afford to be self-defeating, and having too many rules and regulations can keep a lot of good things, like green energy and affordable housing, from happening. The big, hotly-debated question is, where is the balance?

On a final note, the Star confirms that Schickel will finish build-out of the late Jack Jensen’s Farm Pond Circle project in Lansing, as soon as the Boiceville Cottages are finished later this year.

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2. It’s that time of the year for property re-assessment. The county gives a rundown of their process and goals for this year here. Most places handle assessment on the city/town/village level, so being that Tompkins County is solely responsible here makes it unique in the state.

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The report notes that high demand and low supply has kept sales prices on an uptick, and as those get factored into assessments, the values of property are due to go up as well. There aren’t as many sales as in the mid 2000s, but county home values are appreciating at an uncomfortably fast clip – median price went up 4.2% in just the past year, much greater than wage growth. The Voice has gotten some emails from people extremely upset that the county is doubling their land value, and there have been similar emails getting shared on neighborhood e-mail listserves, so there will probably be a story coming out on that soon.

Certain areas are facing certain challenges. For example, Collegetown’s land value is so high that it’s often worth more than the building that sits upon it, making much of the neighborhood a redevelopment target. Fall Creek is seeing home value appreciation much faster than the rest of the county, making it ground-zero for rapid gentrification. The county’s not pulling these values out of the ether; assessments are based in part on what people will pay for similar neighborhood properties. Fall Creek is walkable, centralized and a strong fit to the rustic, crunchy vibe buyers are often looking for in Ithaca. There are signs that the North Side and South Side neighborhoods are seeing similar impacts, but they’re not as noticeable because those neighborhoods were traditionally less well-off, so the gross home values aren’t as high, even if they’re appreciating at similar rates.

Out in the towns, the county feels Caroline is being under-assessed, which they hope to change in 2017, and there have been wildly high-priced sales in Ulysses that the county attributes to “excited” lakefront buyers. About the only area where the county is concerned about falling land values is Groton, where poorly-maintained properties are taking their toll on the tax base.

On the commercial end, Commons businesses and county hotels can expect a 5% assessment increase.

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3. Looks like the town of Ithaca released their annual planning board summary. Only 15 new of modified proposals were reviewed in 2015, down from 27 in 2014, and 32 and 41 in 2012 and 2011 (2013 is excluded for some reason). Nevertheless, the town’s planning department has been busy trying to translate the 2014 Comprehensive Plan into form-based zoning code, at least some of which they hope to roll out this year. A couple sources seem to have taken to referring to it as the “Ithacode”.

Also in the pipeline – reviewing Maplewood (with the city as secondary), reviewing Chain Works (with the city as primary), and possibly, Cornell rolling out plans for East Hill Village (early design concept shown above), the first phases of which are expected to be unveiled within the next year.

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4. The townhouses at 902 Dryden Road in Varna have been approved. The Dryden town board voted 4-0 to approve the project at their meeting on the 17th. The 8 new units and 26 new bedrooms should begin construction this July and be completed by June 2017. Local company Modern Living Rentals will be developing the site, and the townhouses (no updated render, sorry) are being designed by STREAM Collaborative.

Also relevant to the Varna discussion, the planning department memo notes a pre-application meeting was held for a proposal to subdivide and build 16 “small homes” at the corner of Freese Road and Dryden Road currently owned by Dryden businessman Nick Bellisario. No other information is currently available about the project.

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5. Let’s wrap this up with a look at the city of Ithaca Planning Board agenda next week. Quick reminder, the general order is: sketch plan, Declaration of Lead Agency, Public Hearing, Declaration of Environmental Significance, BZA if necessary, prelim approval, final approval. Here’s the formal rundown:

Site Plan Review
A. 210 Hancock – project update, no decisions
B. 424 Dryden, rear parking lot for 5 cars – prelim and final approval
C. Hughes Hall Renovations, Cornell University – Determination of Environmental Significance, prelim and final approval
D. Ag Quad Renovations, Cornell University – Determination of Environmental Significance, prelim and final approval
E. The Cherry Artspace, 102 Cherry St. – Declaration of Lead Agency and Public Hearing

F. Sketch Plan – 301 E. State Street, the Trebloc Building.

Don’t know if this is a continuation of State Street Triangle or something else (it would be a surprise if someone could create a new plan in such a short time), but we’ll find out on Tuesday. Zoning is CBD-120, meaning commercial or mixed-use, no parking required, up to 120 feet in height.

G. Sketch Plan – 201 College Avenue

201 College Avenue sits on the corner of College Avenue and Bool Street in inner Collegetown, and is presently occupied by a well-maintained though unremarkable 12-bedroom student apartment house owned by an LLC associated with the director of a local non-profit recreational center. The property is currently assessed at $545k. Zoning for the property is Collegetown MU-1, allowing for a 5-story, 70′ tall building with no on-site parking required. A quick check of neighboring properties indicates that the owner only owns this property, so whatever is planned will likely be limited to just this house.





News Tidbits 3/12/16: After Much Discussion, Even More Discussion

12 03 2016

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1. The community meetings have begun for Maplewood Park’s replacement. The Cornell and Professional Graduate Student Assembly (GPSA) held a discussion with the developer EdR and project architects Torti Gallas this past Monday. According to the Sun, some of the features planned in the new graduate housing development include-

“[S]omething like the Big Red Barn but on a smaller scale as a community room so you can open it up and have events…there will also be a business center for group projects and work. We are also planning an outdoor recreational space like tot lots for people who have families and volleyball courts.”

Concerns about affordability were raised, but the developer said that rent prices are still being sorted out. From the meeting, the four big goals of the project are “affordability, walkability, sustainability and community,” with streets that also serve as public gathering spaces, and a variety of unit sizes and types. Definitely something to keep an eye on as plans are fleshed out.

On the bureaucratic end, the Maplewood Park sketch plan is set to be presented to the Ithaca town planning board next Tuesday by Scott Whitham of Whitham Planning and Design. A sketch plan has no votes involved and is merely an informational session, and an opportunity for the board to give preliminary thoughts and input. The board will also be hearing a much less interesting proposal for a new bus shelter in B Lot.

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2. Looks like Kraftee’s in Collegetown will be shutting its doors. According to the Cornell Daily Sun, the book and apparel store, which opened its Ithaca location in 2002, will be closing for good at the end of the month. Owner Pat Kraft did have plans to move the store into the first floor of the Dryden South mixed-use project currently under construction at 205 Dryden Road, but now with Cornell’s new Executive MBA building underway on the lot next door, he plans to “explore other more complementary uses for the commercial space.” Since the project is in MU-2 zoning, Kraft is legally obligated to have “active use” commercial on the 2,400 SF first floor: hotel, bank, theater, retail, and/or food service.

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3. The city’s CIITAP production at the Wednesday PEDC meeting was productive. The board seemed comfortable with the pre-payment option preferred by the IURA. The question now comes down to what length abatements to offer. The 10-year has strong support, but there was discussion on whether or not to offer the 7-year option (only used once by the Hotel Ithaca) and the 12-year option with the enhanced benefits. So while this a few months of discussion left ahead of it, there’s a better idea of what the revised CIITAP will look like. For the record, the 1% fund payout would be based on hard construction costs only, not soft costs. So for example, the Marriott currently underway, it would have paid 1% of $19 million instead of $32 million (would it have still moved forward? Dunno).

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4. Also at the PEDC meeting, the development policy topic du jour finally moved forward – incentive inclusionary zoning. Discussion on the law here, and a primer on the topic here. So, stemming from a debate with the Times’ Josh Brokaw on Twitter, my initial reading of this law was mandatory. But I was mistaken, it’s voluntary and the city will want a couple years to gauge its effectiveness.

The Sun writeup is here, but eventually you;ll be able to find live video archived from the meeting here. I think Mayor Myrick pretty much nailed it with this quote –

“This proposal is an opportunity for those of us who claim to care about affordable housing but oppose large-scale subsidized housing.”

The unpleasant truth is, classism reared its ugly head during the 210 Hancock debate, and thanks to the online petition, everyone saw it. After all the prep and community meetings that went into the project before it was even proposed, there were still people who said it was unsafe, uncivilized, would breed trouble, that the residents would cause crime, they’d all be on welfare…pretty unnerving commentary from a community that considers itself progressive. Abhorrent as it is, these comments aren’t going to go away. Many of these folks are older, some have been here for decades, and they’re set in their beliefs. It’s regrettable to say this, but the more subtle and intermixed the affordable housing is, the less likely it is to face neighborhood opposition.

Along with the removal of parking requirements and +1 floor option in certain neighborhoods, the reduced site plan review option (only affecting the plan layout and design, not the environmental aspects) was judged to be the most appealing by developers. To be fair, a project redesign based on board input can be expensive, so reducing that prospect in neighborhoods with pre-established form guidelines (currently only Collegetown, but the Waterfront is likely to have its own form-based hybrid code in a year or two) is a big positive.

The PEDC voted to circulate the law for review, with only 1st Ward Councilwoman Cynthia Brock dissenting. There will be more typed about this law as it moves forward.

On a semi-related note, it looks like the town of Ithaca is now starting to look into some kind of inclusive or incentive zoning as well.
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5. For this week’s eye candy, here’s the latest revision for Travis Hyde Properties’ DeWitt House senior apartment project at the Old Library site.  This was the version presented at the March 8th meeting. HOLT Architects has been tuning in to both the ILPC’s and the Planning Board’s comments (the two have been conducting joint meetings to avoid extra bureaucracy and contradicting each other) and is trying to hem down the general design idea such that SEQR and SPR and the rest of the approval process paperwork can begin.

As can be seen, the design is quite a bit different from the original plan with the “dorky roof” as one county legislator called it (for the record, I liked the dorky roof). This is an idea of where the design is going, but not the final revision, since the ILPC and Planning Board still plan on commenting further. For those still simmering over the decision last summer, just remember that even if the Franklin/STREAM proposal for condos had been selected, the ILPC and Planning Board would have had a heavy hand in that design process as well. The design for DeWitt House will continue to evolve, and updated images will be shared as they become public.

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6. Meanwhile, out in Lansing, lawmakers are under pressure because NYSEG cannot accept any new gas service requests because the current pipeline is fully tapped. About half of homes nationally and many commercial and industrial structures use natural gas an an energy source, so this could potentially put the kibosh on a lot of home and commercial construction. Definitely not welcome at a time when the town and village are at high risk of losing their biggest taxpayer.

NYSEG is still actively pursuing construction of a new gas pipeline from Freeville, one that has garnered considerable opposition from Dryden and some eco-activists. The environmental advocates have pushed for renewables, but the recent opposition to the Black Oak wind farm in Enfield, and to solar panels in Ulysses for the Sciencenter have created yet another complication to the county meeting its green energy goals, let alone overall energy needs. The area can’t afford to be self-defeating.

The Lansing Star is reporting that NYSEG has obtained about half the easements it needs, and could eminent domain the rest as a last resort. It’s a tense and complicated situation.

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7. Wrap this up with a quick house of the week update on INHS’s 203 Third Street affordable home project. These photos are a couple weeks old now, but most of the trim has been attached with the exception of the porch, and with that, finish-out of the interior and landscaping, this 2-bed, 1.080 SF house will be good for sale. INHS is asking $129,000 from qualified moderate-income homeseekers (buyers making 70-80% of Area Median Income, I think offhand), and is expected to change hands this summer. Claudia Brenner did the design, and Rick May Construction did the buildout.








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