March 2016 Planning and Economic Development Committee meeting

I’ll be chairing the March 2016 meeting of the Planning and Economic Development Committee this Wednesday, March 9th, at 6pm in Council Chambers. Here’s the agenda. A quick run down of the meeting:

Special Business:

  • Special Presentation: Chain Works Planned Unit Development Zone – another step in the complicated, multiphase redevelopment of the former Emerson facility on South Hill. Working with the Town of Ithaca, we have to create a “Planned Unit Development Zone” – basically a special tailor-made zone that will facilitate the project. See the agenda for more details.

Announcements, Updates, Reports:

  • IURA Consolidated Plan – we’re making a minor tweak to the Ithaca Urban Renewal Agency’s Consolidated Plan. This requires that Council be given “notice.” We’ll get an update from IURA staff.

Voting to send on to April Council meeting (Wednesday, April 6th, 2016 at 6pm in Council Chambers):

  • Brindley Street Bridge Replacement: Lead Agency Decision – We got a presentation on this last month and now it’s back for a vote. You know that little bridge near Trombley Tire and Auto that people use as a shortcut to get to Wegmans from West State Street? It’s in serious need of repair. The question is whether we want to rebuild the bridge in its current location or extend Taughannock Boulevard to create a new bridge over the Cayuga Inlet. The Planning Board and Board of Public Works have recommended that we support the Taughannock Boulevard extension. So basically we’ll be voting on whether to proceed with that proposal.
  • Six-Mile-Creek Watershed Conservation Easement – last year, the Common Council authorized funding to purchase watershed conservation easements upstream from our Water Treatement Plant. The idea is to protect our water supply. We are proposing to chip in $40,000 to aid in the acquisition of a property in the Town of Dryden. See agenda for more details.
  • Minor revisions to Planned Unit Development Ordinance – a minor change that make it will make it easier for Common Council to approve a Planned Unit Development for multiphase projects. See agenda for more info.

Voting to “circulate” (basically this means that we send a proposal out to the public for feedback; the proposal will come back to the committee next month for further consideration):

  • (TM)PUD Application: Cherry Street Arts Space  – TM PUD: sounds like the name of a Texas oilman. But really it’s short for “Temporary Mandatory Planned Unit Development,” a special zone that would give Common Council more oversight on any potential development that happens on the Waterfront. The Waterfront is a critical area, and we want to make sure that future development fits with our comprehensive plan. First project up for review? A proposal for an “Artspace” on Cherry Street. See agenda for more details.
  • Incentive Zoning for Affordable Housing – An important piece of legislation. As everyone knows, housing affordability is a big problem in Ithaca. We want to create zoning incentives to address the increasing shortage of lower-income workforce housing in the city. See the agenda for more info.
  • Waterfowl Ordinance – don’t feed the geese! As part of an overall geese management strategy, we are proposing to pass an ordinance prohibiting the feeding of waterfowl on city property. See agenda for more info.


  • Community Investment Incentive Tax Abatement Program (CIITAP)
    – further adventures in our ongoing effort to reform the city’s tax abatement policy. This is a big, complicated issue, but we are getting closer to a resolution. See agenda for more info.
  • Backyard Chickens – the famous backyard chickens issue. We voted to circulate the proposal for a pilot program last month, but we wanted to update the committee about some new developments. See agenda for more info.

Again, here’s a link to the agenda. You can watch a live stream of the meeting here. As always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact me at Thanks!
– Seph