October 5, 2014

EDITORIAL: For Development With Residents in Mind

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Last week, developer and landlord Nick Lambrou unveiled his proposed development for 114 Catherine, a three-story apartment with 17 rooms on what currently is a five-car surface parking lot. If approved, his proposal will join the other proposed developments in Collegetown that the City of Ithaca Planning and Development Board has been approving. It would also follow the new zoning ordinance that the city implemented in Collegetown and is expected to be approved by the Board. We at The Sun commend developers who are increasing the housing stock of the neighborhood in line with the progressive zoning ordinance that the city established, and we encourage other developers to do the same.

While the Catherine Street development will still have to follow minimum parking requirements, many developers have been trying to build in Collegetown because of the new zoning code. Since the city removed minimum parking requirements for many lots in the central Collegetown area with its Collegetown Area Form Districts plan in March, a burst of development proposals have been submitted to the Planning and Development Board for review. Together, the new developments, if approved, would add hundreds of bedrooms to the Collegetown rental housing stock, which we hope will help moderate prices in a neighborhood that is increasingly pricing out all residents of Ithaca. Successful developments would also be in line with other provisions of the city’s form-based zoning code, which ensures that new developments are designed to integrate with the existing housing stock, rather than be the new eyesores of the neighborhood. The code also encourages buildings along busy streets to provide retail spaces on the ground floor, providing space for amenities that can be enjoyed by existing and new residents alike. We support the city’s decision to increase the capacity and vitality of Collegetown through an innovative zoning ordinance, and support developers who are in the process of creating new developments that are up to this code.

We at The Sun also commend developers that are following the code’s vision of an active neighborhood by incorporating amenities in their designs. From a new bus shelter to a new grocery store, these new amenities will improve the quality of life for all residents in the neighborhood. We encourage other developers to consider the current and future needs of Collegetown and incorporate solutions from the beginning, rather than as an afterthought. We also encourage owners of vacant storefronts to make an effort to attract and retain businesses. Together, these two actions will increase the vitality and livability of Collegetown today and in the future.