Pin It
Lansing Meadows

The Village of Lansing Planning Board voted unanimously Monday to grant a special permit to Arrowhead Ventures to build the Lansing Meadows senior rental housing project.  The senior housing project on Oakcrest Road was a condition of a Planned Development Area (PDA) that allowed construction of BJ's Wholesale Club.  But more than eight years later the senior housing element has yet to break ground.  Before approving the permit, the Planning Board added conditions they said would insure that the project is completed within a reasonable period of time.

"This project doesn't have a good history," said Planning Board Chair Mario Tomei. "It started eight to ten years ago.  For various reasons it got put off and changed.  Now we're back to where it could be started.  We don't want to fall in the same trap that we were in before where nothing was happening and we couldn't say anything about this.  We want to be assured that the project is going to start and its going to be completed."

After many years and many plans, developer Eric Goetzmann agreed a few weeks ago to a plan that will cover the entire property with ten single-story duplexes, each apartment approximately 1,500 square feet with its own garage and driveway, arranged on a new semi-circular road with two outlets on Oakcrest Road.  After working out a few minor details over the last few weeks the Planning Board was ready to vote, but not before new conditions were attached to the special permit.

Village Attorney added a number of conditions to the ten extended to every special permit.  They included storm water management, the submission of a maintenance agreement, lighting, landscaping, and curb cut/sidewalk plans.  Planning Board members also wanted a guarantee the project will be completed, but Goetzmann balked at assigning an end date, saying it is harder to get financing from banks if there is a finish date requirement.

"If you put an outside date on it you have to change your whole financing," he said.  "Financing is a whole different animal."

Goetzmann said he wanted to be able to rent units as soon as they finished, but Code Enforcement officer Adam Robbs said that issuing separate building permits for each duplex would not provide enough motivation to Goetzmann to build all ten buildings.  Robbs said that issuing a single building permit would require that the 20 rental units would all be finished before receiving a Certificate of Occupancy, necessary before they can be rented.

"That's your want," Robbs said. "Historically this has been a very very slow project which has changed many times.  To try to stop that happening we want to see the project completed.  The Village wants some sort of guarantee.  If you don't want to post a bond, or you don't want to give us a 'drop dead' date, then this is the other option.  The only other option is if you post a significant amount of money in escrow for the Village to hold on to.  We have to come up with a compromise.

Lansing Meadows20 senior rental units will be arranged along a semi-circular road. A plot of land to the east (right on this plan) is zoned for a commercial use such as a coffe shop senior residents or visitors to the Ithaca Y could walk to.

Goetzmann said his goal to get construction drawings done quickly over the next 12 weeks so he can put the project out to bid and hope builders are still taking projects on for the current building season.  But he argued for not requiring a completion date.

"What if you get half way through and something happens -- you hit shale or rock or I don't know..." he said.

"That's what we're worried about, Eric," said Planning Board member Lisa Schleelein. "Given the history of this entire project it's very, very important to all of us."

Robbs insisted on a completion date, noting that Goetzmann had a building permit for the project at one point but never started building.  There was a lengthy discussion during which Village Attorney William Troy asked Goetzmann for three timelines, based on best and worst case scenarios, and something in between.  All agreed that in the best case Lansing Meadows could be completed in 18 months.  The middle scenario, with unexpected delays, was 2 years.  Board members finally agreed that 2 years would be the worst case.  A start date of July 31st was made a condition of the special permit, with July 31, 2020 the agreed-upon completion date.

"I'm not going to fight it," Goetzmann said.  "I'm trying to get it done.  Put 'two years' because by the time we start it's going to be July.  So put at least until the end of the construction season."

The passage of the special permit commits Goetzmann to begin construction July 31st.  The first phase will be to build the road to Village specifications with the expectation that it will be given over to the Village when the project is complete.  Infrastructure will also go in.  Meanwhile, assuming Goetzmann get the plans soon enough he hopes to find a contractor to begin building the duplexes as soon as possible.  He will still need a building permit, and other permits before that phase can begin.

Pin It