Editor’s Note: The following petition has garnered over 200 signatures among Ithaca residents and was submitted to the Ithaca Voice for publication by Northside resident Dick Feldman.
It opposes the Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services’ proposed affordable housing complex on the city’s Northside at 210 Hancock Street. You can read previous coverage about the planned development here or here, or find a column endorsing the project here.
To submit an alternative viewpoint, contact me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Bus To Nature: Route 22
Petition against INHS plan for Northside:
The project is out of scale with the Northside and Fall Creek neighborhoods. In this area of owner-occupied homes, 54 rental apartments in a four-story building will radically change our community. We can’t solve all the problems of inadequate housing in Ithaca in one overreaching project. Supplying housing corresponding to employment in Ithaca needs to be done through a combination of projects that preserve the reasons people like Ithaca, not by destroying its character.
There are many other housing projects in process in the area, some of them closer to Cornell employment than Northside. For example, the townhouse project in Varna has a parking space for each bedroom, in addition to direct bus service to Cornell. Its plan preserves traditional neighborhood design, according to the Ithaca Voice.
New housing is being built in many areas around the city and nearby, such as the King Road project. These all attempt to fit into their environments, unlike this massive rental structure in a neighborhood of small owner-occupied houses. There is also appropriately sized low-income housing already in Northside.
Parking is inadequate:
The project admits they are counting on renters and businesses competing for spaces in front of existing houses in the neighborhood. They claim they are supplying 76% of the required parking. The retail businesses will not have designated parking, depending on free spaces from people gone during the day. At the same time, they claim renters will be able to walk or take public transit to work. The only bus route goes once an hour to the mall.
Really low-income assistance?
True financial/housing assistance to lower-income people should involve equity accumulation. Renters build no equity. Why couldn’t the units be rent-to-own?
High density model
The high-density urban village model, according to developers, involves living, working and shopping within a quarter mile. There is not adequate retail, open space, or public transport to enable this lifestyle in the Northside. This influx of renters will require additional city expenses of several types. The ideology of urban density is being pushed on Ithaca. We need to proceed at a measured pace, not with large out-of-character projects like this, far from the urban center.
Meetings: Planning and Development Board City Hall Tuesday June 23 6pm; Board of Zoning Appeals City Hall Tuesday July 7 7pm. Come early if you’d like to speak.