ITHACA, N.Y. — A proposal to subdivide a lot on South Hill and build duplexes is drawing concern from neighbors about more student housing being added to the neighborhood.
The proposal, which went before the city of Ithaca Planning and Development Board on Tuesday, is for 209 Hudson Street, where a house sits on a 26,484 square-foot parcel, a large lot in the neighborhood. The owner/developer, Bia Stavropoulos working with architect Jagat Sharma, has proposed to subdivide the parcel into three lots. It will retain the existing house on one lot and build two new duplexes on the other lots. The duplexes would have three bedrooms in each unit.
Developing the site would require removing a pool, wooden fence and shed and 11 mature trees. Access to all three sites would be from the existing driveway.
It was only a few months ago that Common Council chambers were filled with South Hill residents opposed to more infill housing geared toward students. In response to the concerns, which were spurred by a proposed duplex on Columbia Street, Common Council voted 9 to 1 in favor of South Hill Overlay District. The resolution, passed in November, made it so there can only one primary structure on one lot in lower-density residential zones. The intent of the overlay is to curtail South Hill’s development while a neighborhood plan is developed this year.
The Stavropouloses purchased the property for $460,000 in June, several months before the South Hill Overlay District was enacted.
Related: Concerned with more student housing, South Hill residents call for pause on building in neighborhood
The proposed plan would only develop one structure on each lot, but long-term residents in the neighborhood say it would go against the spirit of the overlay. Residents fought for the city to put a pause on development until a neighborhood plan could be created. In past discussions, South Hill residents said they want a neighborhood plan with emphasis on owner-occupied homes and families.
At the meeting Tuesday, it was standing-room only and more than 20 people spoke in opposition of the proposal. One speaker, former county legislator Pam Mackesey, stated she has been a South Hill resident for 30 years, and said the project would ignore the intent of the overlay district.
“If you recommend this, you’ll be contributing to the degradation of our neighborhood, which is really at a tipping point,” she said.
The proposal does have one issue that will need a variance. The rear structure, on “Lot 3”, has a three-foot deficiency in street frontage, so it will need to be reviewed by the Board of Zoning Appeals before approval is granted. In the meanwhile, planning board review of the project is ongoing. On Tuesday, the Planning and Development Board declared itself lead agency for environmental review for the project.