October 16, 2013


City housing project proposed

2 story, 6-unit building would replace 2 homes on Lincoln Avenue

Staff Reporter

Developer Jim Reeners is proposing to buy two lots and build a multifamily residence at the site where two single-family residences currently lie on Lincoln Avenue.
The Cortland County Planning Board is considering the proposal tonight. The project is within the Otter Creek floodplain and also requires variances for a multifamily unit to be allowed in a residential neighborhood and variances for parking and lot coverage.
Reeners said Tuesday he would defer comment on his proposal until the city Planning Commission meeting Oct. 28.
“The City Planning Commission, they have the first say. The county is looking at certain aspects of it as they have to do with the floodway but they are not looking at the whole project, that’s the city’s responsibility,” Reeners said.
The county Planning Board is recommending the city approve the proposal contingent upon a negative declaration of environmental impact under the State Environmental Quality Review act, among other things related to parking, driveway access and flooding concerns.
The lots Reeners and his son Mike Reeners plan to buy are located at 91 Lincoln Ave. and 93, 95 Lincoln Ave.
Reeners plans to build a two-story, six-unit building on the location and a parking lot with 20 spaces. He would buy the parcels, currently owned by Nancy and James Sorbella and Shirley Ellsworth, respectively.
The property at 93, 95 Lincoln Ave. is assessed at $82,800 and was formerly two parcels, one vacant lot and one single-family residence, combined into one parcel in 2010, according to assessor Dave Briggs.
The property at 91 Lincoln Ave., owned by Sorbella, is assessed at $95,400.
The site is behind lots on Groton Avenue that Reeners developed about five years ago into a multiunit apartment complex for SUNY Cortland students, across the street from the Byrne Dairy store.
Planning Department Director Dan Dineen recommends in his report that certain changes be made to the plans, such as allowing a driving lane of 24 feet as opposed to the 22 feet Reeners proposed and that Reeners apply for and receive a development permit in order to develop within the floodplain.
Dineen said this morning that Reeners would have to elevate the first floor of the housing development, building it 2 feet above the base flood elevation. Reeners will also have to get a variance for lot coverage.
The project as proposed calls for 47 percent lot coverage (things like buildings and parking lots, etc) as opposed to the 45 percent lot coverage allowed in the residential district.
The county Planning Board will formally make its recommendations to the city Planning Commission tonight and the project will also go to the city Zoning Board of Appeals for review of the variances.
Dineen said the Planning Board’s recommendations should be easy to implement and not stand in the way of the project proceeding.
“There’s nothing in the recommendations that should be a problem,” Dineen said.


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