Development Proposed for Eastern Collegetown

9 02 2010

An underdeveloped piece of land between East Hill and Collegetown is the site of a proposed 26-unit single-family housing development to be called “Vine Street Cottages”. The land has been used by a trucking company since 1980, and was previously the site of an asphalt plant. The land has been marketed for the past year or so by several real estate agencies as a site for dense housing (suggested sale price: a cool $1.25 million for 3.4 acres. Mind you, this is Ithaca, so those prices are quite steep).

Photo Courtesy of Google Images

The housing is to be designed similar to the older homes in the nearby Fall Creek neighborhood, and sell for about $300k. However, the land is only zoned to hold ten lots, not 26, so a zoning appeal has to be filed and public discussion has to be undertaken. Which leads to comments like this one:

“…whose parents live on Vine Street, said the proposed development would be too dense, and the asking prices ‘are unrealistic for this area.'” A mature tree line currently buffers neighbors from the trucking operation, but all the trees would have to be removed to accommodate that many units, he said…”

I’ll give it one thing – the asking price is steep. A 1900 sq ft., 3-bedroom, 2.5 bath house that is LEED certified seems like it should only go for 200k-250k in the area. As for being too dense, apparently the joys of the frequent traffic of 18-wheelers up and down Mitchell Ave. outweigh 26 single-family houses. It’s also next to Maplewood Park, which is owned by Cornell and much denser (Maplewood Park is on the site where Vetsburg, Cornell’s housing for vets and their families, was originally placed after WWII). Cornell has its own plans to redevelop Maplewood Park within the next several years (assuming the budget kinks are worked out).

Speaking of which, the company that wants to develop the site, Agora LLC, is headed by Toby Millman, Cornell Class of 1992.

It would seem to be that this is a big win for Ithaca. The housing is intended for permanent residents and follows new urbanist principles, so it’s eco friendly and responds to concerns of students overrunning the area. But apparently, some folks think that a trucking company is better.



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