By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
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.”
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.”
ONEONTA – Construction is about to start on $15.9 million Oneonta Heights, which includes 40 senior-citizen housing units and 20 for working families, developer Housing Visions of Syracuse announced a few minutes ago.
The project will support a neighborhood transformation plan developed by Housing Visions in partnership with the City of Oneonta and Opportunities for Otsego, which will create 60-affordable housing units for families and seniors.
By LIBBY CUDMORE • for AllOTSEGO.com
ONEONTA – Despite a final few voices of public outcry, Housing Visions’ proposed 48 unit Silver Creek senior and family housing project got site plan approval from the Oneonta City Planning Board at a special meeting called this evening at City Hall.
“This is a good thing for Oneonta,” said Mayor Gary Herzig, who served on the Housing Task Force that brought Housing Visions to the city. “We’re going to take down abandoned buildings and eyesores and turn them into affordable, quality housing. This is Oneonta at its best.”
The site plan was unanimously approved by the board, who also decided against doing a full environmental impact statement, citing that the SEQR answered all questions. The site plans for projects at 63-65 Spruce Street and at West and Columbia were approved at earlier meetings.
But it wasn’t a victory without detractors. At a meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 16, neighbors voiced concerns for two hours. And although public comment wasn’t scheduled for the special meeting, Council Member Bob Brzozowski, Seventh Ward, asked that the public be allowed to speak.
Artist’s Renderings Detail
Housing Visions’ Concepts
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.
Plan For 60 Dwelling Units In City
Long In Gestation, Developer Says
By LIBBY CUDMORE• allotsego.com
ONEONTA – When Ben Lockwood, vice president of Housing Visions, came to Oneonta six years ago, he knew he had the tools to fill a need. “I saw the Oneonta really needed housing,” he said. “The student population puts a stress on low-income residents who need access to their jobs, services and shopping.”
That project fell through. But Wednesday, at the city Planning Commission meeting, Lockwood got to present a 60-bedroom project two years in the making. “We want to be a catalyst for positive sustainable neighborhood revitalization,” he said.
Since 1990, Housing Visions has built 1,300 low-income units in Syracuse, Binghamton, Albany, Oswego, Rome and Corning.
In 2012, former city manager Mike Long and Planning Commission vice chair Gary Herzig – also chief operating officer of Opportunities for Otsego – approached Lockwood again in hopes of revisiting the project. “There isn’t much low-income housing here in Oneonta,” said Herzig. “This is an important need.”