September 18, 2012
Dryden apartments take shape
2 of 8 buildings on Route 38 expected to be ready by Nov.
Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Poets Landing apartment complex is under construction on Route 38 in Dryden. The mid-income, 72-unit housing project is on track for two of its eight buildings to be ready for occupancy in November.
DRYDEN — Backhoes worked and crews added walls to apartment buildings Monday, as Poets Landing continued to take shape across Route 38 from Dryden Middle-Senior High School.
The mid-income, 72-unit housing project is on track for two of its eight buildings to be ready for occupancy in November, village officials said.
Mayor Randy Sterling said the developer, Conifer LLC of Rochester, and some village leaders have been trying to quell concerns that the project’s residents will be low-income and create crime.
“People are being screened by the company, financially and for criminal history,” Sterling said. “This is not Section Eight (low-income) housing. It could be DSS housing, yes.”
Sterling was referring to housing subsidized by the state Department of Social Services. Conifer has federal and state funding to build the project.
Sterling also said the state Department of Transportation has agreed to lower the speed limit from 35 to 25 miles per hour in the stretch of Route 38 past the school and Poets Landing.
Diana Graser, a regional traffic engineer for the Syracuse office of DOT, confirmed the plan in a letter May 23 to Superintendent of Schools Sandy Sherwood. District leaders had said repeatedly they were worried about increased traffic along the road, which would add to existing traffic and create a hazard for students crossing the road.
The site for Poets Landing, a 14-acre chunk of 46 acres purchased by the company, was cleared in the spring. Only the 14 acres can be developed, as the rest is protected wetland.
As of Monday afternoon, one two-story apartment building had siding, three had insulation on their walls and three more had wooden frames for walls. A one-story community center on the west end was also nearing completion, with insulation on its walls.
The main contractor is Solvay-based Orchard Pipe and Earth.
A road is planned to come in from the west off Route 38 and loop among the buildings. A second road would come south from Route 38 at the center of the current formation of buildings, which is the first phase of the project.
Two more apartment buildings are planned for the center. There will be a total of 72 apartments with one, two or three bedrooms, for people with incomes from $25,000 to $55,000 annually.
The second phase is a 72-unit senior citizen complex, probably in one L-shaped building.
Sterling said that would be built in three years, and whether it will actually be senior citizen housing will be determined after Conifer and the village government see how the first phase goes.
Andrew Bodewes, the project’s manager, said progress is excellent and said he would answer questions about the project via email but had not done so as of press time.
The project was approved by the village Planning Board last year, after more than a year of negotiations with Conifer over how the project would be designed. Conifer altered its stormwater handling system, road plan, bus stop location and entrances after several public discussions.
Poets Landing is being built by a group of investors with state assistance. The village received a $2.5 million grant in December for the project from the state Office of Housing and Community Renewal.
Conifer LLC first approached the Village Board with the idea for the project in December 2009. The meetings began one month later, as the developer discussed traffic, safety, flooding and environmental concerns with police and Dryden Central School leaders.
“It’s new housing in Dryden, and it brings tax dollars and people,” Sterling said. “People who live at Poets Landing can walk to shopping, restaurants, school, banks.”
Sterling said Police Chief Margaret Ryan visited a Conifer LLC project similar to this one in Malone, Franklin County, and had said she was satisfied that Poets Landing would be well-maintained and would not create more crime.
Village Clerk Abby Homer said Conifer LLC has never revealed the project’s cost and the assessment value for the project has not been calculated yet, since it would require calculating residents’ incomes. It could amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars in new tax revenue, however.
Sherwood and Dryden resident Les Cleland questioned the project’s impact on safety along the highway, with the school’s three entrances and students walking along the road.
The state DOT has repeatedly refused requests to place a traffic light in the area, saying its analysis showed traffic flow did not warrant it. The state then said last winter that Dryden Central School could purchase a flashing light for $250,000 and maintain it for $1,200 per year. The district cannot afford it, Sherwood has said.
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