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48 Units Too Intense For Silver Creek

Edition of Thursday-Friday, Dec. 4-5, 2014

To the Editor:

I am very concerned about Housing Visions’ planned development of the Silver Creek properties. I’ve always favored reasonable development of this area, but I have serious misgivings about the construction of 48 housing units there.

First, I worry about the stability of the hillside. Can it physically support this much construction? We know what heavy construction of the Wilber Park Apartments did to that hillside, resulting in a massive landslide into Wilber Park, much to the detriment of that park. I fear that the hillside above Silver Creek is similarly unstable and will result in another massive landslide.

Second, I am concerned about the greater volume of traffic 48 housing units will produce, both on the steep climb from the units up to Monroe, and on the traffic on Clinton, a dangerous street in the wintertime. And Monroe east of Clinton has a narrow, one-way bottleneck.

Third, because the cow path from SUNY-O onto upper Clinton provides students, faculty and city residents convenient walking access to and from the campus, Clinton has lots of foot traffic, a considerable portion of which is on the street itself because upper Clinton lacks sidewalks.

The result is that pedestrians’ only choice once leaving the cowpath is to walk on Clinton for the first 150 yards to Monroe, and many continue on Clinton below Monroe (where the increased traffic from the Housing Visions project will be traveling), both because they’ve started IN THE STREET and find it convenient to continue IN THE STREET.

That’s a problem now for those of us driving Clinton. Increased traffic from the proposed project will exacerbate that problem, especially in the winter when the sidewalks that do exist are often not shoveled or are icy and thus more dangerous than the street because the street is usually plowed and sanded.

Fourth, the Clinton-Spruce neighborhood is one of Oneonta’s finest because it is quiet and peaceful. Forty-eight housing units are as many units as now exist on Clinton and Monroe. That many new units are going to more than disturb that peace and quiet – for many, it will make residents’ lives at least uncomfortable and for some miserable. Why build so many units in such a quiet area, especially when other vacant and abandoned property is available in the city?

Oneonta needs new housing and the taxes from it. However, we do not need 48 new units above Silver Creek! Twenty or 24 would be a much more reasonable number. Moreover, there are many other vacant lots in Oneonta crying out for construction. In fact, there’s one right next to my house. The city could also negotiate with SUNY-O to buy the property at 109 Clinton with its abandoned six-plex apartment house. Those excellent one-bedroom apartments might be refurbished, or the building could be replaced with a reasonable number of units there.

These would be reasonable housing developments.



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