By Denise Richardson
The Daily Star
---- — Oneonta’s Planning Commission will meet tonight to consider if Newman Development Group’s site plan application for a student housing project is complete and ready for review.
The meeting will be in the Science Wing at Oneonta High School at 6 p.m.
Newman Development Group of Vestal proposes building Hillside Commons, a four-story, 330-bed apartment complex on Blodgett Drive for full-time college students.
The proposed complex, which would be near the State University College at Oneonta, is an allowed use in the R3 High Density Residential District.
City officials moved the meeting out of City Hall to accommodate larger attendance at meetings on the proposed project, which has attracted support, plus opposition about possible negative impacts on the neighborhood and the business community.
Public comments will be taken at tonight’s meeting, a recent media release from the city said, and planners have indicated that a date will be set for a public hearing on the project.
City manager Michael Long said representatives from Newman Development and Delaware Engineering, which has been hired by the city to review the project, will be at tonight’s meeting.
If planners determine that the application is complete, the commission has 62 days to approve or reject the site plan, according to Planning Commission chairman Dennis Finn. Oneonta city attorney David Merzig said if the commission doesn’t make a decision in 62 days, the application is presumed to be approved and the developer may go ahead with the project.
If planners reject the site plan, the developer could file legal action against the commission or submit a new application, he said. Finn said another possibility is to extend the review period, if necessary.
Long said planners tonight may discuss future meeting dates for the review process.
Planners will conduct a mandated State Environmental Quality Review, an assessment of environmental impacts, Merzig said. Under the site plan review, the commission also will consider many other sections of the proposal, such as landscaping and construction plans.
The commission may approve a site plan with stipulations, Merzig said. After site plan approval, the developer may apply for a building permit from the code enforcement office in order to start construction, he said.
Separately, the Oneonta Common Council is considering an application from Newman Development Group for a tax abatement plan. The council’s next regularly scheduled meeting is Tuesday.
Newman Development officials have targeted occupancy for the start of the 2014-15 academic year.