News Tidbits 6/12/14: Predisposed to Being Opposed

13 06 2014

Some things are worth mentioning, but not necessarily worth their own post. So here we go…


1. The rather suburban Troy Road development has begun the long road to obtaining construction approval, prodding the town of Ithaca to grant a planned development zone, or PDZ, so they can have leeway on the layout and variety of housing on the property. The proposed development has whittled itself down from 216 to 166 units, and gone are the 26 lots for the single-family homes (leaving 90 apartments, 60 town homes, and 16 patio homes; the developer indicates the apartments will be 1 and 2-bedroom and shooting for the middle-income bracket ($1,000/month), and the patio homes will be geared towards seniors). As with virtually every other project proposed in recent memory, this one has its share of opposition, for which the town board has some sharp words (the current zoning is actually worse, it allows for a sprawl-tastic 154 units spread out over the entire property). The 166 units would be clustered on 22 acres, just under one-third of the space. The developer (Rural Housing Preservation Associates) submitted a detailed market and traffic study to the town, and seems to be trying its darnedest to gain that PDZ. However, that requires 6 town board members to say yes, and only 4 felt so inclined at the June 9th meeting. Look for this one to continue to evolve over the summer.


2. Normally, I could care less about a single house. Looking at the map above, it seems the surveyor of this East Ithaca lot had a liquid lunch. The owners of 209 Tudor, who own the inaccessible lot, want to adjust the lot line so that both have a similar amount of road frontage, with the intent of selling off the extra lot for the construction of a new home.

As things would have it, the neighbors were vociferously opposed. It was claimed that it would negatively impact the character of the neighborhood. The lot is surrounded by houses on adjacent lots. Sigh. Since the complaints were more building issues than zoning issues, the ZBA approved the lot revision. The new lot is for sale for $55k.


3. Some readers might recall a house burning in Collegetown back in March. 202 Eddy’s destruction left 12 students homeless, and a historic structure in ruins. The developer vowed to rebuild, and according to these documents filed with the city’s ILPC, he looks to make good on his vow. An entrance door will be repositioned, the emergency stairs will be gone, and a chimney will not be rebuilt, but otherwise, its a near-replica to the original. The architect-of-record is Jagat Sharma, who has previous experience from the reconstruction of Sigma Pi’s house when it burnt down in 1995. The ILPC has to approve this, so there could be some tweaks; but I doubt they’ll be significant.


4. There are 13 different PDFs detailing the Gannett expansion and the construction phases on the city’s website. I don’t even want to go through it all. In a nutshell – 22,400 sq ft of renovated current space, and 73,600 sq ft of new space. 175 construction jobs, and Gannett expects to add 40 new permanent jobs, mostly physicians, counselors, and related personnel. Projected construction cost will be $25.5 million, and go from March 2015 to October 2017.

5. Has 7 Ridgewood really been through six different designs? Holy Christmas.



6 responses

15 06 2014

I like the proposal for the Gannett expansion. I’m glad the replacement for the fire victim house in Collegetown is a like for like type of structure. And on the #2 item; somebody got some spainin’ to do.

17 06 2014

Regarding the Troy Road development and the assertion that the proposal is better than the so-called “sprawltastic” current zoning potential, it is very telling that the proposal has dropped all single family detached homes. That was apparently in keeping with the GAR Associates preliminary market study, which concluded that “residential sales volume…do not warrant significant consideration of new development.” It seems clear that there will not be 154 single family homes being built on this property in the foreseeable future. It’s a false choice that should not be taken seriously in this debate.

In a related issue, I also notice that the traffic study does go so far as to compare this development with any more than 100 single family homes, (which would, in fact, produce slightly less traffic than the 166 rental units), even assuming their trip assumptions are correct.

17 06 2014
B. C.

Thanks for writing Mike. With respect to point 1, while 154 single-family homes have never been explicitly considered, it is a problem because it implies the town was comfortable with that level of development, and the associated traffic, runoff and related development concerns.

Regarding point 2, I double-checked. 166 apartments produces practically the same amount of traffic as 100 single-family homes, not slightly less as you suggested. The firm that conducted the study used the 9th edition of Institute of Transportation Engineers “Trip Generation Manual”, which is often cited for traffic analyses, but it’s also a 2000-page behemoth. A quick narrowing of parameters reveals that the trip rate for apartments is listed as less than single-family homes: for PM peak hour for instance, it’s 0.58 to 0.62 per unit depending on the type of apartment, whereas single-family houses are 1.00 per unit. I assume that’s because most families have more than one vehicle and driver.

Please consider my above comments as playing devil’s advocate. I’m not a fan of this development because this comes across to me as token sprawl, no matter how the developers try and spin it otherwise. But the town has taken little action to actually promote the dense nodal development in already-established areas, preferring to acquiesce to rarely-followed guidelines.

2 08 2014
News Tidbits 8/1/2014: It’s Gotta Go Somewhere | Ithacating in Cornell Heights

[…] from the town board for a Planned Development Zone. This PDZ is required because the project proposes 166 units; the max under cluster zoning, which doesn’t require a Town Board-approved PDZ, is either 153 […]

23 08 2014
News Tidbits 8/23/14: Soooo Much Rendering | Ithacating in Cornell Heights

[…] layout, and some of the window and facade banding was tweaked. The $25.5 million project is all clear for its March start date, for a completion in fall […]

3 01 2015
News Tidbits 1/3/2015: Ringing In the New Year | Ithacating in Cornell Heights

[…] town where adjusting the property line made it buildable, and drove the neighbors crazy. Then I write about it. Looks like that parcel on Tudor Road sold and an unassuming ranch-style home is under […]

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