ITHACA, NY -- As Incodema moves to a new facility in Dryden later this year, developer Linc Morse has ideas about what to make of its former building at 407 Cliff St. in Ithaca. His plans look at myriad possibilities, including units for short-term and long-term rentals, office space, meeting rooms, retail space, community meeting space, conference space and retail. The name proposed is the Cliff Street Retreat.
However, because of the zoning in that area, the project was in front of the Planning and Economic Development Committee (PEDC) on April 21 for the first steps in its Planned Unit Development (PUD) consideration. PUDs allow for more flexible zoning as long as the project has proven community benefit.
“Half of the uses we’ve proposed are allowed, some are questionable,” STREAM Collaborative architect Noah Demarest said. “We’re trying to find a way to get that flexibility.”
Demarest added that they were also exploring a way to create a path down from the facility on West Hill to meet up with the Black Diamond Trail through Cass Park.
“We have the opportunity to take a more accessible route that follows along the grade and takes advantage of the length,” he said.
Committee members had some clarifying questions, but were generally supportive of the project.
“I really appreciate the mixed use,” committee member Laura Lewis said.
Committee member Cynthia Brock, who represents West Hill on Common Council, echoed that.
“There’s a lot of interest in this project,” she said. “A lot of excitement to see the reuse of this building.”
A public information session will follow in the coming weeks, and the PEDC will talk about it again at its meeting in May.
Ithaca Energy Code Supplement
The Ithaca Energy Code Supplement was also back in front of the PEDC, despite previously having been approved and moved along to Common Council. After Luis Aguirre-Torres, the new sustainability director, started, he wanted to look over the supplement and see if there were any new ideas or perspectives he could provide. Specifically, he wanted to learn more about the environmental justice aspects of the code, though no changes were made to that.
Aguirre-Torres and Sustainability Coordinator Nick Goldsmith also met with representatives from Cornell to talk about their district energy system, and they agreed to use Cornell’s data. However, both the city and town of Ithaca will have the right to ask for a third-party review at cost to Cornell if they deem it necessary.
A few other tweaks were made to the code. Small-scale solar arrays, less than 25kW, will no longer be required to report annually, as it’s a requirement that would cause a burden specifically on homeowners and small businesses. Additionally, Goldsmith said they took out the 15-year contract requirement for renewable energy, and clarified reporting requirements.
Overall, none of the changes were major, and the PEDC approved them without much discussion. The code will go back in front of Common Council next month for final approval.