Megan Wilson

Planner at the City of Ithaca

The City of Ithaca held a public information meeting concerning proposed Collegetown area form districts on Wednesday, Dec 11. City planner Megan Wilson described the latest draft of the proposed form districts, “The latest version addresses many of the concerns received in 2011 and many of the comments received regarding the new drafts starting last spring,” said Wilson. “One of the big differences is we’ve decreased number of zones from 10 to six, some of the districts had minute differences, so we’ve streamlined them.”

The new draft has four Collegetown Residential zones, abbreviated as CR-1 through CR-4 and two Mixed-Use zones, abbreviated MU-1 and MU-2. According to the draft posted online, “The Collegetown Residential 1-3 (CR-1, CR-2, CR-3) districts contain predominantly residential structures occupied as single-family homes, as duplexes, or as multiple residences often rented by university students. The intent is to maintain the existing housing stock. Significant redevelopment within these districts is neither anticipated nor encouraged.”

The Collegetown Residential 4 district is meant to act as a density “bridge” between CR districts 1-3 and the higher density MU districts. CR-4 districts contain primarily multi-family dwelling units, although single-family and two-family residential uses
are permitted.

Again from the draft plan: “The Mixed Use districts accommodate retail, office, service, hotel, and residential uses, and in most cases, multiple uses will be combined within the same building. The purpose is to create a dynamic urban environment in which uses reinforce each other and promote an attractive, walk-able neighborhood.”

The latest draft, dated Dec. 5, also changes the off-street parking requirements for the densest areas. In CR-1-3, one or two parking spaces are required depending on the number of bedrooms. No off-street parking is required in CR-4 provided the Planning and Development Board accept a transportation-demand management plan during site plan review. There are no off-street parking requirements in the densest MU-1 and MU-2 districts.

Alderperson Jennifer Dotson (G-1st) applauded the removal of parking requirements, “I’m glad to see the parking requirements are being removed in the MU zones. It is denser than downtown and has better public transportation.”

The new draft also includes provisions to encourage row houses in the CR-4 district, and a minimum green space requirement ranging from a 35 percent [of the lot] minimum in CR-1 to 10 percent in MU-1 and zero percent in MU-2. “The minimum green space requirement is new, we thought that was an important addition to make sure enough green space was provided for in the residential areas,” said Wilson.

The latest draft can be viewed under Online Services at the City of Ithaca website: www.cityofithaca.org

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