DRYDEN, N.Y. –– Outside of Varna, interest in building multifamily housing in Dryden comes and goes in spurts. Apartment proposals are fairly uncommon, but that doesn’t mean they don’t happen at all. In this case, the latest proposal is a plan for a new development at 1279 Dryden Road, near the old NYSEG Building and next door to the Plantations Bar and Grill.

The project is being pitched by Lansing developer Ryszard (Richard) Wawak, and would be Wawak’s second attempt at a larger apartment development in the town of Dryden. His first plan, the 24-unit Pineridge Cottages proposal once planned for the corner of Dryden and Mineah Roads, was the subject of fierce opposition from neighbors, and greatly scaled back after water tests led to concerns about having enough water to supply all the units. The final buildout over the past year or so resulted in four two-bedroom cottages on the site of the 24-unit proposal.

Currently, the 9.34-acre property at 1279 Dryden Road hosts a single-family home as well as the greenhouse and shop of what used to be the Saunders Greenhouse garden store. County property records indicate Wawak bought the property from Richard Saunders back in 2014. Plans filed with the town of Dryden call for replacing the greenhouse and store with a three-building, 28-unit apartment complex, with an estimated construction cost of $1.5 million.

In what is arguably one of the more curious submissions for planned building designs, Wawak submitted both a simple elevation drawing, and a “similar building” to which is bears some similarity. Typing in the coordinates in the Google Maps screenshot of the “similar building” reveal that it’s the Magnus Ridge Winery in the Yates County hamlet of Rock Stream. Interior plans indicate the building would host sixteen studio apartments (each 600 square feet in size) and twelve one-bedroom apartments (clocking in at 800 square feet each).

Along with the two-story apartment buildings would be parking for 30-40 cars, bike racks for up to thirty bikes, and a stormwater retention pond shared with the single-family house at 1269 Dryden Road, which Wawak also owns.

Site plan for the proposed project.

The project is multi-family residential in a mixed-use commercial zone, so Dryden town law requires the project seek a Special Use Permit from the town. Expect review of the project by the Planning Board and approval by the Dryden Town Board to require at least a few months to conduct environmental review and to decide whether the plans merit approval. No construction time frame has been provided with the documentation (which, should one be so inclined, can be conveniently viewed on the town’s website here).

Brian Crandall

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