Ithaca Planning Board gives Arthaus affordable housing plan environmental approval

first_imgITHACA, N.Y. — Vecino’s proposed Arthaus development has received environmental approval from the city’s Planning and Development Board. The project is on track to bring about 120 affordable units to 130 Cherry St. on the Cayuga Inlet.According to the latest documents describing the project, the team is proposing a five-story building that would include a gallery, office and affordable rental space. It would include parking for about 36 vehicles and 7,600 square feet of potential retail or office and amenity space geared toward artists. All of the units would be restricted to renters earning 50 to 80% of the area median income — or about $30,000 to $45,000. The north end of the property will also include a publicly accessible path leading to the inlet.The project is headed by the Vecino Group, which also intends to partner with social services nonprofit Tompkins Community Action to include supportive housing for formerly foster care, homeless, or at-risk youth in the 19 to 26 age range.On Tuesday night, members of the Planning and Development Board approved a negative declaration of environmental significance for the project after reviewing the potential environmental impacts.The site was redeveloped for commercial use in the late 1970s, according to documents filed with the board, and operated as an automotive repair facility for the last 20 years – AJ Foreign Auto.Related: Old library project, Arthaus affordable housing request tax abatements Tagged: arthaus, ithaca, tompkins county Kelsey O’Connor is the managing editor for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @bykelseyoconnor. More by Kelsey O’Connor center_img Your Economy & Development news is made possible with support from: Kelsey O’Connor Related: Artist housing considered among several projects at Ithaca planning boardA couple of Cherry Street neighbors, including Sam Buggeln of the neighboring Cherry Arts and Frédéric Bouché, of Ports of New York, have voiced support for the project.But the project has not gone completely without concern. Alderperson George McGonigal, one of the representatives of the First Ward on Common Council, said while he commends the affordable housing and purpose behind Vecino’s plan, he said his concern is that the apartment building is so large that it threatens the “character and utility” of the surrounding industrial enterprises, and would set a precedent for more projects of that size in the waterfront district, whose plan is not yet complete.“I think that this is the wrong place for something this size,” McGonigal said during public comment on Tuesday. In a letter that was attached to Tuesday’s agenda, McGonigal said further, “a smaller housing development, one that did not fill the property like a hippo in a bathtub, would fit this neighborhood much better.”According to the city’s Comprehensive Plan, Cherry Street is considered an “enterprise” district that has primarily industrial, office, and research development uses “targeted for expansion of business and employment opportunities as well as particular residential uses.”Members of the board were positive about the project and the addition of affordable housing to the city. The resolution passed unanimously, so the project can now move forward into the next planning phase. last_img

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