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Local News

May 16, 2013

Blodgett plan critics complain at hearing

Pedestrian safety, traffic on Blodgett Drive and water drainage remained the top issues raised during a public hearing Wednesday night before the Oneonta Planning Commission. 

About a dozen residents and others spoke during the 45-minute hearing at the Asa C. Allison Jr. Municipal Building. About 20 people, not including engineers and city officials, attended the meeting, which marked the beginning of the formal review of the Environmental Assessment Form, part of the mandated State Environmental Quality Review of the project’s impacts.

Newman Development Group of Vestal has proposed building a four-story, 330-bed apartment complex, Hillside Commons, starting this summer for occupancy in the fall 2014 term.  The commission will continue its review of the developer’s Environmental Assessment Form at a workshop session Wednesday night.

The commission will have no more time set aside for public comments, but Chairman Dennis Finn said comments in writing continue to be accepted and entered into the public record.

During the hearing Wednesday, objections again were raised to the Common Council’s approval of a tax abatement plan with the developer, among other issues.

Attorney Steven Feuer, who also is a landlord, objected to the lack of a study by the city that would address the economic impact of the student housing complex. The project will cut his retirement income, he said, and the city’s idea that families will move into vacant student housing downtown housing is a “pipe dream.’’

The community will lose employees at management companies, Feuer said, and the developer will take money out of the area.

Several residents raised concerns the impact of construction and asked that residents be notified of the schedule and dates of large deliveries and unusual traffic.

The EAF review Wednesday night included 20 questions on the potential environmental impact of the project, from construction and use of water and energy resources to demand for municipal services, such as police and fire coverage.

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