Planning Board Recap: With bare quorum, major State Street apartment project fails to advance

ITHACA, N.Y.—Tuesday night was a lesson in how those in attendance or not in attendance can completely skew a development plan. For the second time in a row, three of the Ithaca Planning Board’s members were absent, which meant a bare quorum. Chair Robert Lewis, Vice Chair McKenzie Rounds and C.J. Randall were absent, with Acting Chair Garrick Blalock, Mitch Glass, Emily Petrina and Elisabete Godden in attendance for the lengthy four-hour meeting.

A large apartment proposal for 401 East State Street was delayed because it needed four yes votes and one of the four members in attendance was the one who has consistently opposed the proposal, thus preventing it from moving forward over the development team’s objection that the delay would cause it to miss its October 2021 deadline for a construction start and therefore delay it by at least one year. Two other apartment projects were approved, and a proposal on the edge of Collegetown and Belle Sherman was met by great uncertainty. There is much to read this month, pour yourself a glass of your preferred drink and dive in below.

For those who like to read along to the summary, a link to the 168-page agenda is here.

Subdivision Review

First up were lot subdivision reviews — these are when property lots in the city, technically known as parcels, seek legal reconfiguration, which could be anything from being split up into two or more plots, reshaped or consolidated from multiple lots back into one parcel.

The first subdivision up for review was the third iteration of a proposal for a vacant 5.45-acre parcel of land at the end of the 400 Block of Campbell Avenue on West Hill. What began as a 20-home for-sale development was replaced with an eight-lot proposal similarly scaled to its neighbors, to a proposal for two lots much larger than its neighbors and as a result they’d likely be more expensive than their neighbors. One lot would be 2.22 acres, the other would be 3.23 acres.

Anette Rentie

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