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March 12, 2013

Group writes petition to stop Blodgett housing plan

A group of property owners, merchants and residents is circulating petitions opposing a 325-bed apartment complex proposed for Blodgett Drive in the city of Oneonta.

The group, Save Oneonta, calls for the mayor, Common Council and city Planning Commission to oppose Newman Development Group’s proposal to build a complex near the State University College at Oneonta campus. Petitioners cite possible “severe adverse economic impact on Oneonta merchants’’ and on owners of downtown Main Street properties, among other possible negative consequences of project.

Mayor Dick Miller said he doesn’t accept the premise that the Newman Development project would be detrimental because there are too many unknowns. Aggrieved residents have spoken against the proposal at Common Council meetings, he said, but it’s too early to say if the project would be good or bad for Oneonta.

Miller said he is aware of the petitions but is taking a “hands off’’ position regarding them and the proposal.

“The ball is completely in the hands of the Planning Commission,’’ Miller said.

At its March 20 meeting, the Planning Commission will conduct an initial survey of the Newman Development project under the required State Environmental Quality Review Act.

The apartment complex is proposed to be on parcels of which three are owned by Janet Izzo and two are owned by Richard Woods, according to documents from the Oneonta Code Enforcement Office, and the complex proposal is a permitted use in that High Density Residential District.

Planners are to meet in Common Council Chambers at 7 p.m. March 20, and an initial SEQRA survey for a separate proposed apartment complex on River Street is the first agenda item.

Residents in the Blodgett Drive neighborhood have expressed concerns at Common Council meetings about water runoff and environmental impacts of the project.

Robert Chiappisi, Oneonta city code enforcement officer, said Newman Development’s preliminary site plans have been submitted and are under review by the code and engineering offices and by Delaware Engineering, which has been contracted to review materials and plans.

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