GROTON, N.Y. — Over in the village of Groton, a small development project is stirring up a debate.

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The project, proposed by Rick Uhl of Genoa, calls for four duplexes and four single-family homes — twelve units total. The temptation is there to approach this with urban condescension, but for Groton (population 2,400), it’s a big deal.

The homes would be built on several already-subdivided lots on a new road coming off of Elm Street on the eastern boundary of the village. The original plan called for duplexes on the west side of the street and closer to the village center, while single-family homes would be built on the lots on the east side of the street.

The debate lies with proposed zoning changes in Groton – a zoning change currently being considered by the village would downzone parts of the town to single-family homes only. That includes the lots the duplexes are slated for.

The zoning has been a source of debate among homeowners in Groton, because a number of them own larger homes that they’ve turned into duplexes, living in one unit and renting out the other.

Although the law grandfathers in current buildings, they worry it could be a hassle in the future. The county’s planning department has also expressed issues with the plan, saying that it creates numerous non-conforming lots and that it goes against the county’s comprehensive plan.

A compromise had been reached between the developer and planning board last spring, where duplexes would be built on the new street’s east side and single-family homes on the west side (so as to keep apartment dwellers from mixing with family homes), but more recently the village has made moves toward an all single-family plan anyway, which is creating some consternation since it tosses the compromise out the figurative window.

The Ithaca Times notes that a decision on the zoning, and the compromise by extension, is expected at the September meeting of Groton village’s Board of Trustees.

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Looks like there’s going to be a lull in activity in the town of Ithaca for the next few weeks. The Planning Board meeting for the start of September has been cancelled. The Planning Committee, which is comprised of the town board members and planning department staff, will be discussing a “family entertainment facility concept” for the intersection of Elmira Road and Seven Mile Drive, and modifications to the Planned Development Zone for the South Hill Business Campus (SHBC), an industrial and office park that reuses the old NCR headquarters.

A quick email with SHBC manager Linda Luciano says that the meeting will be to expand the business types allowed under the PDZ, because they were uncertain who would be interested when they first renovated the facility, and they wish “to support a more wide array of possibilities”. No expansion plans are on the table, although rough plans have been around for a while.

Readers might recall that Maguire dealership chain proposed a HQ and expanded facilities along Elmira Road and Seven Mile Drive, but the plan was dropped last December due to differences in opinion on appropriate zoning for the site. A mini-golf plan was also floated a few months ago, but later dropped from consideration.

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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.