ITHACA--The Town of Ithaca planning board, at its Tuesday, Aug. 5 public meeting, unanimously approved preliminary site plan and preliminary subdivision approval for Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services’ (INHS) proposed Greenways townhouse project. Several neighboring residents asked the board to make sure the project receives additional tweaks before final approval. Others voiced general support for the project.
The Greenways project team will have to adequately meet 19 stipulations before considering final approvals, which could happen in the coming weeks or months, board Chairperson Fred Wilcox said.
The Greenways project proposal is to be built in Medium Density Residential (MDR) and Multiple Residence zones (MR). The proposal includes the development of 46 townhouse units west of Eastwood Commons, along with fronting woonerf-style roads that will connect Sunnyhill Lane and Strawberry Hill Road. These are part of a subdivision off of Honness Lane.
Two years after INHS backed out of its first proposal for 67 residential units at Strawberry Hill Circle, the non-profit community-development corporation is pitching a scaled-back version of the same project in the same location. INHS Director for Real Estate Development Scott Reynolds, along with Peter Trowbridge of Trowbridge Wolf Michaels Landscape Architects, discussed the initial sketch plan for the proposed “Greenways project” at a town planning board meeting Tuesday, May 20, and presented the latest renderings once again on July 1, along with the project’s architect, Claudia Brenner. Trowbridge and Reynolds were in attendance once again Tuesday night.
According to the project’s site plan, the woonerf-style roads in the proposal are usually found in residential areas “where motorists and other users share the street without boundaries such as lanes and curbs.” Woonerf can be translated from Dutch to “residential yard,” which reflects the road style’s popularity in the Netherlands. In this style of road, people on bikes and on foot have access to the whole street, not just the shoulders and sidewalks. The proposal also includes new parking areas, open space, recreation areas, trials, walkways, landscaping, outdoor lighting, and stormwater facilities. The land is currently owned by Cornell University, which is looking for the land to be developed for employee housing. In exchange for “below-market price in land,” Cornell is requesting right of first refusal when the units come up for sale.
Editorial note: The Greenways public hearing was the lone agenda item of the planning board’s agenda for its public meeting on Aug. 5.