Good morning!

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Here are three unrelated updates on Ithaca area development news:

1) More studies behind Northside affordable housing project

Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services (INHS) is armed with more 210 Hancock studies and analysis as it prepares to go in front of the city Board of Zoning Appeals next Tuesday. With the commercial loading space question settled, it leaves the height variance of 6.5 feet (40 feet zoned, 46.5 feet requested), and the parking variance of 20 spaces (84 required, 64 given). Original/full application here, new addendum analyses here.

The board requested additional information about pile driving and the parking situation. In response, INHS has conducted further analysis and shown that — regardless of height at 40′ or 46.5′ — piles would be required either way. INHS has offered in its application to use a “vibratory oscillating” method of pile driving, where piles are vibrated into the ground rather than driven. This reduces noise (no hammer-like banging) and produces less overall vibration.

Further parking studies found that 210 Hancock offers a greater percentage of parking than similar buildings like McGraw House, the Cayuga Apartments and Lakeview on Third Street, INHS’s parking study of its tenants was reiterated, and an analysis of its commercial tenants was given – the occupants will have 16 designated spaces from 7 AM to 5 PM, when the daycare and non-profit offices are in operation. After hours, they’ll serve as potential overflow parking.

Click on the Ithaca Voice Story Database to learn more. Stories on this topic are filed under “Hancock Street affordable housing proposal.”

2 — A look back at Lansing development

As part of its 10th anniversary feature, the Lansing Star did a nice retrospective of what’s changed in the past ten years in Lansing. When it comes to development, it isn’t especially kind:

“Lansing hasn’t changed much in ten years.  While grand plans for the future of the Town have been explored, not many have been realized.”

The article then goes on to detail how after the sewer initiative was defeated by public vote, a few developers banded together to try and fulfill the town center that Lansing was pushing for. Quoting the article, “the town government couldn’t get its act together to make that happen, even though it wouldn’t be footing the bill for the infrastructure (including sewer)”. About the only development initiative that has taken off is the Warren Road corridor, which was spurred mostly by threats of a major employer (Transonic) leaving the town (and Transonic paid for the sewer study). Meanwhile, the Star characterizes the village government as simply existing for “maintenance” purposes.

The paper notes some successes with parks and wildlife initiatives, but the highlight of the piece seems to be that Lansing is routinely failing to achieve its municipal planning and development goals.

3 — Renovation for Ithaca architecture firm

Back in the city of Ithaca, plans are underway for the major renovation of a shopping plaza into professional office space for a local architecture firm. According to documents filed with the county, an LLC associated with HOLT Architects is spending $897,500 on the renovation, and another $415,000 for acquisition costs. The renovations will start in late August should be completed by March 2016. Tompkins Trust Company is providing the financing, and local company McPherson Builders is in charge of general construction.

From the press release published recently, HOLT chose the West End location for its walk-ability and centralized location. The building will be renovated into a net-zero energy structure for the 30-person architecture firm. No renders yet, but they’ll be included in a future news roundup when they become available.

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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.