Cornell Proposes Further Development for West Hill

14 05 2010–hotel-school-institute-on-West-Hill

Cornell University is developing plans for a major new project on Route 96 that could include senior housing, offices, small-scale commercial, and an institute for its hotel school.

Town planners have been discussing the idea with Cornell for several months, and Thursday afternoon, Ithaca’s town planning committee voted unanimously to recommend the town board consider re-zoning the parcel to accommodate the development.

Cornell owns 35.86 acres on Route 96 between Overlook apartments and the West Hill fire station. Though plans are still preliminary, Cornell is looking to partner with developers Conifer LLC to build 72 senior living apartments and 60 assisted-living units for low-income seniors, Town Supervisor Herb Engman said.

“And this would be Medicaid eligible, which we badly need in this community because we have lots of places where people can age in place … but none that I know of for those who are Medicaid-eligible,” he said.

Link to site proposal options:

In late 2007 and early 2008, developers Paul and Chris Vitale asked the town to rezone a parcel they purchased across from Robert H. Treman State Park to accommodate a Medicaid-eligible assisted living center, but town board members declined. The Vitales will likely operate the proposed West Hill assisted living center, Town Planning Director Jonathan Kanter said.

Cornell Real Estate Director Tom LiVigne said the hotel school has not yet been decided on the exact size and shape of a new institute building, but it would study issues related to seniors in terms of food service and housing, and likely interact with the on-site senior housing.

To maintain “maximum flexibility,” LiVigne said he hoped the town would rezone based on the maximum possible build-out. John Caruso, senior vice president of Passero Associates, presenting Cornell’s plans, suggested a planned development zone should allow 130 to 170 senior and multi-family units, up to 90,500 square feet for the Hotel School institute, 10,000 to 15,000 square feet of office space, and 20,000 to 28,000 square feet of small-scale commercial and retail development.

The parcel is currently zoned medium-density residential, which allows approximately 3.5 homes per acre, Kanter said. That’s roughly 122 units.

The northern entrance to the development would join the traffic-signaled light that intersects Overlook and Cayuga Medical Center, plans show. A southern entrance road would be built just north of the West Hill fire station, directly across from the road proposed to enter the 106-unit Holochuck Homes development. That development is still undergoing environmental review with the town’s planning board, Kanter said.

Cornell’s plans also include a 106-space park-and-ride lot, “which, again, we feel is badly needed for West Hill, so people coming in from Trumansburg, as well as people who might live on this site and nearby people could park their cars there and then take the bus down through town, rather than clogging up the Route 96 corridor from there on down,” Engman said.

The small-scale commercial component is very important to the town, and the town board could make that piece of the development a requirement, Kanter said.

Cornell’s proposal is scheduled to come to the full town board June 7 at 5:30 p.m. in Town Hall, 215 N. Tioga St.


Off-Topic: Proper Behavior During Finals

9 12 2009

This is okay:

Baking Pies is an Acceptable Stress Reliever From Finals

This is not okay:

An Ithaca College freshman has been charged with arson following an investigation into a series of fires in trash and recycling bins near residence halls, the college announced Tuesday.

No one was hurt, but the fires destroyed the receptacles, according to the college.

Alexander Carfi, 18, of Roslyn Heights, was arrested by the college Office of Public Safety and charged with one count of fourth-degree arson, a class E felony, and one misdemeanor count each of criminal mischief and reckless endangerment. He was arraigned in Ithaca Town Court and released on his own recognizance.

The charge relates to a fire reported at 2:58 a.m. Nov. 9 that damaged the northern exterior of Emerson Hall. In consultation with the Tompkins County district attorney’s office, the college is considered misdemeanor-level fifth-degree arson in other fires: 4:14 a.m. Sept. 7 and 12:29 a.m. Sept. 9 at Emerson Hall, 2:36 a.m. Sept. 30 at Landon Hall, and 2:45 a.m. Oct. 21 at Clarke Hall. Suspicious fires were also reported in the early-morning hours of Oct. 5 in the fire lane between Landon and Bogart Halls, and on the east side of Eastman Hall.

Carfi, who lived in Emerson Hall, has been removed from campus, according to the college. The investigation, conducted with assistance from the Ithaca Fire Department, is continuing and additional criminal charges are possible, according to the college.


I.C. seems to just have really bad luck with anything fire-related. During the summer of 2008,  I had the luck (good or bad?) of being one of the hundreds if not thousands of spectators who watched the roof of the brand new I.C. business school catch fire when embers from fireworks lit up the grass roof during the 4th of July festivities.

In conclusion, make pies, not fires. Hopefully we’ll get a real entry up sometime soon.

News Tidbits 6/26

26 06 2008

from the IJ:

“* The housing supply project calls for developing “quality, affordable and sustainable residential communities for the benefit of Cornell employees.”

The proposal is to build “new affordable townhomes” on Cornell property by 2010.

This property could include land at East Hill Plaza, in Collegetown and potentially anywhere else Cornell owns land, Johnson said. New housing would be built within easy biking or walking distance to Cornell or along public transportation lines, he said.

Cornell proposes to spend $600,000 on the housing supply project in 2009.”

Have to keep an eye on that.  $600,000 isn’t much to build with though. Although Cornell already owns the land, and intends for it to be affordable (i.e. not big or loaded), I could see at most four or five townhomes being built with $600,000. Whether or not they continue to add as much each year is a big question.

Example townhomes