August 14, 2007


Cincinnatus woman runs into pedestrians on Telephone Road


Bob Ellis/staff photographer
McGraw Fire Department Third Assistant Chief Jeff Sherwood talks on his radio as he helps Christopher Townsend, lying under a pickup truck, while others assist two other victims of a car-pedestrian accident on Telephone Road in Solon Monday afternoon.

Staff Reporter

SOLON — Three people were injured Monday when they were hit by a car while trying to repair a pickup truck along Telephone Road.
State Police said troopers arrived at about 12:40 p.m. to find Christopher A. Townsend, 18, and Cindy E. Townsend, 38, both of Utica, and Shana M. Pitcher, 18, of Syracuse, had been hit by a 1998 Oldsmobile, operated by 65-year-old Emma J. Joseph of Cincinnatus.
The three were driving east when they pulled over on the shoulder of the road to try to fix their red and gray Chevrolet Silverado, police said.
Both Christopher and Cindy Townsend were lying under the truck, while Pitcher stood near the back on the driver’s side of the vehicle, when they were hit. Police said Joseph did not see the pedestrians.
State Police said Townsends’ legs were sticking out on the roadway when the accident occurred. Christopher Townsend’s legs were run over and Cindy Townsend’s legs were scraped. The car mirror hit Pitcher in the shoulder area. None of the injured had any broken bones, police said they were told by University Hospital.
McGraw Assistant Fire Chief Jeff Sherwood said Cindy Townsend pulled the truck over for what Sherwood believed was an exhaust problem.
“The car came up the hill and clipped the girl,” said Sherwood.
Sgt. Mike Compton of the State Police said this morning that no tickets are being issued at this point because the people who were hit were in the road.
Compton did not know at what speed Joseph was traveling eastbound when she hit the three pedestrians.
All three were transported to University Hospital, police said.
Hospital spokeswoman Kathleen Paice said this morning that they were treated and released.



Del Vecchio attorney:

Panel misused environmental review process

Staff Reporter

The Planning Commission is reconsidering the environmental impact of a contentious West Court Street apartment development after an attorney for the developer threatened litigation Monday.
Planning Commission members put off discussion about the project in the former George Brockway mansion until its next regular meeting on Aug. 27. The board had met Monday with the intention of determining the scope of the environmental review.
Developer John Del Vecchio is now proposing nine apartment units, an increase from the eight total apartment units last proposed but a decrease from the 10 units originally planned.
Three of the three-bedroom units would be housed within the existing building and six units in new construction to the rear of the property.
“Once we have the next meeting and see any new proposal that Mr. Del Vecchio provides, we will come to a decision,” said Commissioner Jo Schaffer.
Scott Chatfield, an attorney from Marietta specializing in land use, argued that the board was misusing the State Environmental Quality Review process and declared that unless the board rescinded its positive declaration of significant environmental impact — meaning the project is expected to pose significant environmental risks — Del Vecchio would resort to a lawsuit.
“Quite simply, if you set our feet on this path by issuing a positive declaration, it’s cheaper for my client to pay me to fight you, and I would win,” Chatfield warned.
The board made the positive declaration on July 23, deciding the project would have a significant environmental impact by setting an important precedent for future projects.
“There is no rational basis for a positive declaration,” Chatfield said. “If you know that it’s all about the size of the structure, or the appearance of the structure, or the number of units, or whatever, then you don’t need a positive declaration.”
Schaffer and commission Chair Nancy Hansen said after the meeting that the board would discuss rescinding the positive declaration at the next meeting.
Chatfield also questioned the “potentially large impact” that would result from the development, which would expand the 1920s mansion of industrialist George Brockway into an apartment complex at the bottom of a hillside street lined with predominantly single-family homes and abutting the downtown historic district.
Neighbors and other residents have protested the conversion of the building and the impact it would have on the neighborhood; specifically, the increase in density.



$473,400 grant will fix up South End homes 

Staff Reporter

The city has been awarded a $473,400 grant to assist in the rehabilitation of 20 owner-occupied homes in the city’s 5th Ward to further the goals of the South End Strategic Plan.
The city applied for the state HOME grant in March through Cortland-based Thoma Development Consultants, program manager Rich Cunningham said Monday. He said potential recipients could begin to apply within the next couple of months.
Applicants must fall below 80 percent of the area median income, and live in substandard housing that they own, Cunningam said. For a family of four, the maximum income level is $40,800.
The grants cover the costs of the rehabilitation without any cost to the property owner, he said. The average amount disbursed would be about $20,000.
Cunningham said there are at least 29 eligible homeowners, and possibly more and that there will likely be marketing efforts to the survey respondents who qualify for the program.
The grant and the South End Strategic Plan as a whole, which outlines long-term ideas and hopes for the development of the South End, are targeted at the city’s 5th Ward.
The area is bounded by Tompkins Street at the north, extending down south Main Street until the city limits, encompassing Argyle Place, Frederick Avenue, Union Street, South Avenue, Crawford Street, Pine Street, Scammell Street and Denti Way.
The city is still waiting to hear back about a $650,000 state Community Development Block Grant application targeted at the south end; Cunningham said the awards should be announced within the next month.
Homeownership assistance is included in the CDBG grant, which would also be used to rehabilitate both owner-occupied and rental properties, fund more vigorous code enforcement, small business assistance and infrastructure improvements on Pierce and Winter streets and South Avenue.
Mayor Tom Gallagher said that the revitalization of the south end includes new businesses such as Cayuga Press and Cortland Plastics International, both off south Main St, as well as the $8 million rehabilitation of lower-income apartment units by Syracuse-based nonprofit developer Housing Visions.
“It adds to all the improvement that is going on in the south end. It can do nothing but enhance the living conditions and the improvement of the properties in that area,” Gallagher said this morning.
A $7 million reconstruction of south Main Street was completed in fall 2006, enhancing the area with new pavement, trees, more streetlights and decorative sidewalk borders.