September 25, 2012

Collegetown Crossing Project Clears Environmental Review

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Josh Lower’s ’05 controversial proposal to construct a new housing complex on College Avenue cleared a major hurdle Wednesday evening as the City of Ithaca’s Planning and Development Board passed a resolution declaring that the project, with the incorporation of a number of provisions will have no adverse impacts on the surrounding area.

The proposed six-story building at 307 College Ave., still pending approval from the Board of Zoning Appeals, as well as further approval from the planning board, could add 103 bedrooms and a ground-level GreenStar grocery store to the area. Lower said that the city’s parking requirements — which currently require him to include 57 parking spaces for residents of the proposed building — would make his “Collegetown Crossing” project unfeasible.

Lower agreed to several transportation provisions adopted by the planning board in order for the zoning appeals board to consider granting him a parking variance, or an exemption from the city’s parking laws. The approval of the environmental review, which was granted by the planning board on Wednesday, was also dependent on these concessions.

Lower will have to provide tenants orientation materials that “emphasize all available alternative mobility options, including Carshare and TCAT … [and show] where parking options are located, what their pricing is and whom to contact to secure a space,” according to the planning board.

Additionally, an addendum, in which a tenant must certify whether he or she is keeping a car in Ithaca, will be required on all leases for tenants. If so, the addendum will require him or her to document where the car is parked. Any violation of the provision will result in eviction, according to the planning board.

Lower will also be required to subsidize alternative transportation for the tenants. He will pay up to 25 percent of the cost for a TCAT bus pass and up to $50 in Carshare usage for any resident who becomes a Carshare member.

Lower said that the approval of the environmental review was “a major accomplishment” for the project.

Original Author: Liz Camuti