By GREG KLEIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
COOPERSTOWN — About 50 village residents gathered Monday, June 15, at a residential space at 20 Lake Street to hear a detailed presentation and ask questions about a debated proposal to build a 13-unit rental apartment on several pieces of property on Chestnut Street.
Josh Edmonds, a Cooperstown native who is the owner of Simple Integrity Construction, and Francesca Zambello, the artistic and managing director of The Glimmerglass Festival, detailed their private partnership and its plans to develop the three pieces of property they own—two on Chestnut and one on Pine Boulevard, behind it—into one housing project.
The number of units, 13 apartments with 21 bedrooms/parking spaces, requires a special use permit from Cooperstown’s Board of Trustees. In addition, the current design for the project, from River Architects, exceeds the maximum height allowed under the village’s zoning laws and therefore a variance is needed. Many other issues would also have to be worked out at board level, especially with the Historic Preservation and Architectural Review Board.
The special use permit is the biggest hurdle for the project as designed and it will be considered at a public hearing Monday, June 28, at a location to be announced later, as part of June’s Board of Trustees meeting. The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. and the hearing begins at 7 p.m. Village officials said they
are searching for a venue large enough to accommodate the expected large turnout.
Monday’s meeting was one part question and answer session, and one part damage control/community outreach to a group of neighbors who are suspicious about apartments turning into short-term rentals or worry about their quality of life being affected by a project of that size.
Much of the information presented at the meeting had been given before at Village Hall and has been covered in the media. However, Monday’s event gave Zambello and Edmonds a chance to tout their innovative designs, highlight their ties to the community and explain their mission to bring affordable professional housing inside the village boundaries on a more intimate basis.
Zambello and Edmonds encouraged their supporters to speak at the public hearing and write letters of support about the project. They said they thought opposition to the project had to do with density and with the not-in-my-backyard phenomenon.
A least one guest, Paula diPierna, said the pair would do better addressing the specific concerns neighbors had than trying to defeat NIMBYism