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January 15, 2013

Firm to detail plans for housing complex

By Denise Richardson
The Daily Star

---- — The Oneonta Planning Commission will hear details about a proposed four-story, 325-bed apartment complex on Blodgett Drive during its meeting Wednesday night.

Newman Development Group, a private company in Vestal, proposes building a structure on land at the end of Blodgett Drive, which is off of Bugbee Road, near the State University College at Oneonta campus.

City planners will meet in Common Council Chambers at 7 p.m. Planners also will hold site plan reviews for a proposed addition to Hartwick College’s Dewar Student Union, the agenda said, and for an addition and other improvements at the Stewart’s Shops at 43-47 Main St.

Regarding the Newman Development Group project, city planners will review the basic site concept and discuss the required drawings and information needed for a site plan review, which considers integration of the project into the community.

The proposed project is in a R3-High Density Residential District and is a permitted use in the R3 zone, according to Robert Chiappisi, Oneonta city code enforcement officer.

Newman Development Group proposes constructing an apartment building with a courtyard and parking lots with about 240 parking spaces, according to drawings prepared by Keystone Associates architectural firm and submitted to the city.

The SUNY Oneonta Hunt College Union and athletic fields are near the proposed project, which is a private-sector enterprise.

“The college is not a party to the project and takes no position with regard to the developer’s proposal,” SUNY Oneonta Director of Communications Hal Legg said Monday. “I want to be absolutely clear about this, especially to everyone who resides along Bugbee Road and in the surrounding neighborhood: SUNY Oneonta is not involved whatsoever in the plan to construct an apartment complex on Blodgett Drive.”

Newman Development Group Vice President Jeffrey R. Smetana said Monday that the developers like Oneonta and look forward to working and being in the community. But he deferred other discussion about the project until after Wednesday night’s meeting.

The proposed development site includes seven parcels. Janet C. Izzo owns 10-12 Blodgett Drive and three other parcels without addresses. Richard and Karen Woods own 150 Blodgett Drive and another parcel without an address, the plans said, and Emerson and Caroline Wassehnova own a parcel with no address listed.

According to the drawings, the apartment complex would be constructed on property where a one-story house stands on the Woods’ 150 Blodgett Drive parcel, and a stormwater facility is proposed on the 10-12 Blodgett Drive parcel where a one-story duplex stands.

A tentative goal would be opening for the 2014 academic year, but the project was in stages too early to know if that schedule was realistic, Smetana said in November.

That month, SUNY Oneonta announced that its plans for a townhouse development on Clinton Street were postponed in part because of the private development project. The college housing for about 200 students was to open in 2014.

“While we may revisit the project at some point; it’s not being pursued right now,” Legg said Monday.

Newman Development Group developed and built Twin River Commons, an off-campus student house housing complex that opened last year for Binghamton University students.

Previously, the company developed the 720-bed University Plaza project, also near Binghamton University.