By GREG KLEIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
COOPERSTOWN — The village’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved a special-use permit for the 13-apartment Chestnut Crossing project at 10 Chestnut St. during a special meeting Monday, July 12, at Village Hall.
About 20 people witnessed the hour-long deliberation as the six trustees — Joe Membrino was not at the meeting — meticulously went through the 16 criteria they needed to evaluate in order to issue a special use permit to allow the density of the project.
However, the decision seemed obvious by the second criteria, which dealt with land uses and addressed the question as to if the development would fit with its surroundings. Deputy Mayor Cindy Falk explained two possible views of the neighborhood, which is zoned R3 for mixed-use residential. She said most of the immediate neighbors are single-family homes, but if you look at the blocks of Pine and Chestnut on a whole, there are hotels, bed-and-breakfasts and some office spaces.
“This really is a multi-use area and in that sense I feel it is in harmony with the neighborhood surroundings,” she said.
The trustees imposed multiple stipulations on the projects owners, Josh Edmonds and Francesca Zambello, whose company, ZAED Properties LLC, owns two adjoining plots of land on Chestnut Street and a third behind those plots, on Pine Boulevard. All rentals must be long-term with leases at least one year long and no subletting or short-term rentals are allowed, including for the Hall of Fame Induction.
The developers must pave the Fenimore Lane access road that runs between Chestnut and Pine and must take action to fix the drainage issues on the property.
“In this case, the project is a huge plus for that,” Trustee Richard Sternberg said.
The developers must make an ADA-compliant sidewalk that allows access from the ADA exits to the street. They also have to do a lot-line adjustment to shift four parking spaces on the property at 17 Pine to the main Chestnut Street lot, so there is no confusion about who owns the spaces if the Pine property is eventually developed and sold.
The developers must also ensure the completion of the project via a completion bond or line of credit.
The permit was only the first approval the project needs and the developers were scheduled to be back in front of a village committee, the Historic Preservation and Architectural Review Board, on Tuesday, July 13. Approvals will also be needed from the Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals.
The project is designed for eight two-bedroom apartments, one one-bedroom apartment and four studio apartments. With 21 bedrooms total, it will have 21 parking spaces.
Designed by River Architects, Edmonds has said it is intended to be indoor living spaces for professional individuals, couples or small families, with minimal outdoor features in order to encourage residents to use the village’s nearby parks.
Zambello, who is the artistic and managing director of The Glimmerglass Festival, has said she and Edmonds teamed up because she sees a huge need for professional housing in the village with her staff, several of whom have decided to leave the area because they can’t find the housing they desire in Cooperstown.
The project had general support from area business leaders and residents with the exception of the block of neighbors around the properties, who almost universally opposed it based on the density and other safety concerns. Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh said there are at least 60 letters and emails in the official record about the project, as well as about 35 people who spoke at a public hearing about the project Monday, June 28.
Tillapaugh said she would allow the spectators one last chance to comment before the trustees did their review, but no one commented at Monday’s special meeting.