News of Otsego County

Affordable Housing

Otsego communities struggle with housing needs

Otsego communities
struggle with housing needs

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to

Affordable and available housing remains an issue in Otsego County in general, but particular issues have come up recently in both Cooperstown and Oneonta.

However, both areas are doing their part to amend this issue. Although there has been some backlash, elected officials acknowledge the necessity of creating affordable housing in the area.

A planned development at 10 Chestnut St. in Cooperstown is being considered by the village’s boards.

Francesca Zambello, who partnered with Josh Edmonds of Simple Integrity on the Chestnut Street project, described herself as a “concerned citizen” who was worried about the “really dire housing situation.” Zambello and Edmonds own three connecting lots and have formed their own company, not associated with Glimmerglass or Simple Integrity, to build on the site.

Delgado Meets With OFO, Says Session ‘Illuminating


Delgado Meets With OFO,

Says Session ‘Illuminating’

Congressman Delgado

ONEONTA – U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado, D-19, today met with the poverty-fighting Opportunities for Otsego’s board of directors and staff.

The freshman congressman called the meeting “illuminating and deeply important to understand the headwinds facing thousands of Upstate New Yorkers experiencing poverty and homelessness.”

OFO CEO Dan Maskin said he was “honored” to have Delgado visit the organization, adding, “I was thoroughly impressed that he took the time to listen to each of the 25 participants’ stories about issues impacting the poor.”

Challenge For Candidate: Affordable Housing

Challenge For Candidate:

Affordable Housing

To the Editor:

This is in regards to letters written about Oneonta and attracting young people to work in our area.

What is needed is housing for all working individuals, as most housing in the City of Oneonta is geared for our student population.

There aren’t homes available to purchase that could be within the reach of these “young people,” nor are there sufficient apartments available to rent, as we have at least four student housing rental corporations that have accumulated houses and apartments to meet off-campus student housing services. This is a similar problem in many countries though. Young people in the UK also seem to struggle with housing prices. However, the UK government has introduced policies, such as the right to buy scheme, to help people afford to own a house. This does lead to more ownership of homes instead of rentals, giving more people the chance to have their own property.

Back in America, it makes fiscal sense, when you can earn $11,700 for a three-bedroom home renting to students per semester, so for nine months you collect $23,400. Then comes the baseball season with Dreams Park and Cooperstown All-Star Village, 12 weeks at a minimum of $2,000-$10,000 a week for an additional $24,000-$120,000.

So jobs would be great, but in Oneonta there is no housing to support an influx of new residents.

In addition, for those of us who are nearing retirement age, there too is a lack of adequate housing to meet those needs. Try finding a one-bedroom apartment that is affordable, by which I mean under $750, as wages in our area are low.



Dostal: There Are ‘Misconceptions’ About RSS Project

People Who Would Live

In RSS Are Committed

To Recovery, Dostal Says

LEAF Director Responds To Neighbors Organizing

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to

Julie Dostal

ONEONTA – In response to the formation of “Sixth Ward Neighbors United,” LEAF Executive Director Julie Dostal said there are “misconceptions” about the proposed Rehabilitation & Support Services housing development and the 14 units set aside for people in addiction recovery.

“Those people get to move into those units because they have engaged in a treatment or recovery provider to qualify for housing,” she said. “They have already made a life decision toward getting better.”

Sixth Ward Will Fight River Street Housing Project


50 Neighbors

Uniting To Fight

Housing Project

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to

Fran Colone convened the meeting of 50 neighbors to organize against the RSS project proposed for the Sixth Ward. “There are multiple bad reasons for the project,” Colone said. (Jennifer Hill/

ONEONTA – Christened “Sixth Ward Neighbors United,” River Street residents and businesspeople met for more than two hours with  city, county and state elected officials at the Sixth Ward Athletic Club Thursday evening  to discuss strategies to oppose RSS’s housing development in their neighborhood.

“There are multiple bad reasons for RSS’s project,” said Fran Colone, a vocal critic of the housing development proposal since last October. “So, we’re turning up the heat and upping our activities.”

“It is bad for Oneonta’s economy, it’s bad in terms of energy services – Oneonta is already energy-strapped; it’s going to increase demand for services here.  Oneonta’s fire department is already understaffed,” Colone said.

Oneonta’s Housing Problem Sparks Debate in Council Committee Meeting

Is Additional Affordable

Housing Needed In City?

Council Committee Asks

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to

Melissa Nicosia, left, who chairs Common Council’s Community Development Committee, and Council member Michelle Frazier question an OFO proposal for affordable housing. ( photo)

ONEONTA –  A $10,000 Opportunities for Otsego proposal to determine the need for low- and moderate-income housing in the city and how to fill it met skepticism from a Common Council committee last night.

Still, the Community Development Committee forwarded the proposal for discussion by the full Common Council, which next meets at 7 p.m. this coming Tuesday.

OFO Housing Director Audrey Benkenstein said her organization is seeking $5,000 from the city to match the $5,000 OFO would provide.  The idea is to underwrite “a process done by a facilitator” who would examine housing information and analysis done an Otsego County housing study just on Oneonta.

Oneonta Heights Cuts Ribbon On Latest Housing Complex

Oneonta Heights Cuts Ribbon

On $15.9M Housing Complex

Cutting the ribbon on this afternoon’s grand opening of Housing Visions’ latest apartment complex, Oneonta Heights, are, from left, Darren Scott of New York State Homes & Community Renewal; state Sen. James Seward, R-Milford; Rebecca Newman, Housing Visions president/CEO; Mayor Gary Herzig; tenants Christina, Romello, and Jayda Drayton and Wesley Hunter, Jim Wright and Czhaira Simpauco; Ben Lockwood, Housing Visions, and Andrew D’Agostino, Community Preservation Corps. The $15.9 million complex features 60 units for families and seniors and even has its own bus route. “This is the first step in addressing our housing problem.” said Mayor Herzig.  “Seventy five percent of families in Oneonta pay over 30 percent of their income on housing, and that is not sustainable.” (Ian Austin/
Home Sweet Home!

Home Sweet Home!

Oneonta Heights Now Accepting Applications
Courtney Moteyunas, Housing Visions regional property manager, shows Christina Drayton, Jesse Hunter and their children, Jayda, Romello and Wesley, around their future home at Oneonta Heights, where an open house is ongoing until 3 p.m. (Ian Austin/

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

ONEONTA – Christina Drayton and her family got their first tour of their new apartment today as Housing Visions hosted an open house of its latest housing project, Oneonta Heights at 4 Monroe Ave.

“I am in love with it,” said Drayton. “The kids have already picked out their rooms. I’ve let them each pick some wall stickers for their bedrooms but the rest of the decorating will be done by me! I’ve got lots of plans for the house already. I know exactly what I want it to look like and I’ve been doing lots of research and online shopping. I’ve even been learning how to secure aluminium doors for your patio since I’ve wanted sliding doors for ages. I can’t wait to move in and get the ball rolling!”

The Heights, part of Housing Visions’ 60 new units of affordable housing, will feature eight townhouse-style apartments with three bedrooms each, scheduled to open in April. “How many people get to say they’ve moved into a brand-new apartment?” said Courtney Moteyunas, assets manager for the Syracuse-based company. “These apartments have a really upscale feel for affordable housing.”

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