VARNA, N.Y. — A new townhouse project in the hamlet of Varna aims to set a new standard for growth in the Ithaca bedroom community.

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The 15-unit, 42 bedroom development at 902 Dryden Road will be one of the first major additions to Varna since the hamlet’s new comprehensive plan and zoning were passed in December 2012.

The $1.5 million project, designed by Ithaca-based architecture firm STREAM Collaborative, involves renovations and additions to a ca. 1915 duplex currently on the property, as well as the construction of an additional 13 townhomes ranging from 2 to 4 bedrooms. 42 parking spaces, one for each bedroom, will also be created in a lot set back from Forest Home Drive.

Some renderings:

According to local developer Todd Fox of Modern Living Rentals, the complex will be powered entirely by solar panels built on-site by Taitem Engineering. “To our understanding, this would be the first multifamily development of its kind in our area…The decision to go solar was difficult from a financial stand point, but it’s something our team believed very strongly in.”

Modern Living Rentals purchased the property last summer; most of their other apartments are in the city of Ithaca. The company is also responsible for the 6-unit, 18-bedroom apartment project currently under construction in the city’s East Hill Historic District. The target market for the townhouse development is Cornell graduate students, though the project has no formal restrictions.

Dryden Planning Board members felt the project was a good fit with Varna’s 2012 development plan, an amendment to the town of Dryden’s 2005 Comprehensive Plan designed to guide future development in the 800-person hamlet while preserving its quality of life. The plan calls for a more walkable Varna, with an emphasis on complete streets, traditional neighborhood designs and eco-friendly developments.

The Planning Board gave its approval for the new residential project in May. According to the developer’s Facebook page, all of the units are expected to be completed by next spring.


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Brian Crandall

Brian Crandall reports on housing and development for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached at bcrandall@ithacavoice.com.