April 2016 Planning and Economic Development Committee meeting

I’ll be chairing the April 2016 meeting of the Planning and Economic Development Committee this Wednesday, April 13, at 6pm in Council Chambers. Here’s the agenda. A quick run down of the meeting:

Special Business:

  • We’re holding two public hearings, the first on Incentive Zoning for Affordable Housing, the second on the Cherry Street Art Space. See below for more information on both of these topics. If you’d like to speak during these public hearings, I would arrive at 6pm sharp.

Announcements, Updates, Reports:

Discussion:

  • Incentive Zoning for Affordable Housing – We’re considering a new tool to encourage more affordable housing in the city, called ‘incentive zoning.” Under this proposal, developers who are building new housing in the city could take advantage of certain incentives – such as an additional floor of height, elimination of minimum parking requirements, or an expedited site plan review process – in exchange for including a certain percentage of affordable housing units in their project or making a contribution to a fund that could support affordable housing projects throughout the city. See here for more info.

Voting to send on to May Council meeting (Wednesday, May 4th, 2016 at 6pm in Council Chambers):

  • Public Art Commission Mural – we’re approving a new mural for the Water and Sewer building on First Street. See agenda packet for more info.
  • (TM)PUD Application: Cherry Street Arts Space  – Earlier this year the Common Council created a “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.
  • Resolution to New York State concerning property taxes on resale restricted homes – When determining the assessed value of a property, New York State does not take into account the resale restrictions of property participating in community land trusts. The community land trust model keeps home prices low, but owners of those homes bear a high property tax burden. We are considering a resolution urging New York State to change the tax law.
  • 401 Lake Street: consideration of NAC recommendation – The City of Ithaca acquired this property near Ithaca Falls through tax foreclosure proceedings in 2015, and now we have to figure out what to do with it. The Natural Areas Commission has recommended demolishing the building, rezoning the parcel, and including it in the Ithaca Falls Natural Area. We’ll be considering this recommendation.
  • Proposal to Reduce Cell Tower Fall Zone – the city has received a request to reduce our cell tower fall zone to make room for a development on South Hill. Currently, the fall zone is twice the height of the tower. It appears this might be higher than is standard practice in other cities. The question is whether we want to reduce it. See the agenda for more info.
  • Waterfowl Ordinance – 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.

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