September 2016 Planning and Economic Development Committee Meeting

I’ll be chairing the September 2016 meeting of the Planning and Economic Development Committee of Common Council this Wednesday, September 14th, at 6pm in Council Chambers. The big thing on the agenda is the Maguire proposal. Here’s a link to the agenda. A quick run down of the meeting:

Voting to send on to October Council meeting (Wednesday, October 5, 2016 at 6pm in Council Chambers):

  • Art in Glow mural – Ithaca loves public art. This is a proposal for a glow in the dark mural featuring a dandelion and the Ithaca festival slogan, to be installed on the surface of the Cayuga Waterfront Trail. Groovy stuff!
  • Fall Creek Block Party, Neighborhood Improvement Incentive Fund -Neighborhood groups around the city can get reimbursed for community events, like block parties. In this case, we’ll be refunding the costs for a block party in Fall Creek. This is approved at the committee level, so it won’t go on to Council.
  • Restore NY Grant Resolution – New York State has a grant program aimed at revitalizing urban centers. We have to choose between two proposals recommended to us by the Ithaca Urban Renewal Agency. See the agenda for more info.

Special Order of Business:

  • Public Hearing: Maguire TMPUD Application – public hearing on the Maguire project (see below).

Discussion (with possible action):

  • Maguire TMPUD Application – Maguire, the local car company, has submitted a plan to the city to build an auto dealership on Carpenter Business Park, next to the community gardens on Route 13. The plan requires Common Council approval, however. Earlier this year, the Council passed a “temporary mandatory planned unit development” district for the Waterfront area that basically requires any development happening in the Waterfront area to come to Common Council for approval. We did this because we are in the midst of a comprehensive planning process for the Waterfront and we want future development there to fit with our land-use goals. We are continuing our discussion of the Maguire project. The committee could decide to vote to send a recommendation to Common Council, or we could decide that we need more deliberation. See the agenda packet for more info. You can also view Maguire’s application at this link.

Again, here’s the 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 get in touch with us! Thanks! – Seph

September 2016 Common Council

Ithaca’s Common Council meets Wednesday, September 7 at 6pm in Council Chambers at City Hall (108 E. Green Street). Go here to find the full agenda. You can watch us online live here or visit us in person and speak during the public comment period.

A summary of the agenda follows.

Consent Agenda
A consent agenda packages routine and non-controversial items not requiring discussion or independent action as one agenda item. On this list are:

  • acceptance of funds from Park Foundation and Smart Growth and Livable Communities for a project entitled “Building for Energy Efficiency: Developing New Construction Standards for Ithaca,” to conduct a comprehensive, collaborative examination of policy tools that Ithaca can use to incentivize or mandate green building standards for new construction
  • giving Housing Inspector Gary Checksfield the new title of Housing Code Supervisor
  • giving Code Inspector Mary Brenner the new title of Senior Code Inspector
  • approving the City of Ithaca Cable Access Oversight Committee’s budget recommendation for upgrading the PEGASYS (public access channels) studio to high definition

City Administration Committee
This committee reviews financial and administrative issues pertaining to the city, including workforce environment, inter-governmental relations, and human resources. Items coming out of last month’s CA meeting include:

  • approval of a capital project to resurface a portion of Route 13 and replacing two traffic lights on that road
  • approval of a capital project to repair or replace the retaining wall in the 400 block of East State (Martin Luther King, Jr.) Street; this is the wall by Gateway Commons, where The History Center is located
  • approval of a capital project to expand the Alex Haley Municipal Wading Pool (near GIAC)

Committee of the Whole
A committee of the whole, as you may have guessed, is a committee of Common Council comprising all members of Council. A Committee of the Whole was convened to use funds from an existing capital project to evaluate:

  • the feasibility, costs, and benefits of consolidating City Hall, Fire Station #9, Central Fire Station, and the Police Department, into one central campus to be located at the current location of the Central Fire Station
  • the possible consolidation of Water & Sewer and Streets & Facilities to one central facility

You can read more about this at The Ithaca Voice.

Planning and Economic Development Committee
This committee addresses city planning, housing, land use, zoning, historic preservation, and items pertaining to economic development in the city.

There’s just one item from the Planning and Economic Development committee this month: Adding diversity requirements for beneficiaries of the Community Investment Incentive Abatement Program (CIITAP) program. This would require that developers receiving a tax abatement join the Diversity Consortium of Tompkins County, establish strategies for improving diversity, report on progress and demographics, and more. You can read more about this at The Ithaca Voice.

Individual Member-Filed Resolutions
Members of Common Council can file their own resolutions. These two are the first we’ve seen this year:

  • Alderperson Brock – Resolution in support of the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH) Woman Act, which would ensure that every woman who receives care or insurance through the federal government will have coverage for abortion services and prohibits political interference with decisions by private health insurance companies to offer coverage for abortion care.
  • Alderperson Gearhart – Resolution to select artwork for a painted intersection at Auburn, W. Lewis, and Adams Streets:
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