ONEONTA — Planners and Sixth Ward residents asked questions Wednesday night about a proposed 64-unit apartment complex that would offer affordable housing and be developed by Rehabilitation Support Services Inc.
RSS officials reviewed plans, answered questions and noted requests during the city Planning Commission meeting at City Hall. City code and administration officials were among about 10 people at the hour-long session.
RSS proposes building a multi-family residential development on 6.5 acres between River Street and West Broadway. The site, which includes 10 parcels, is vacant, wooded land.
At the sketch plan conference, RSS officials reviewed plans, saying the project was in conceptual stages, and were able find out what information the Planning Commission might seek in a site plan review. The project would help meet a need identified this year in an Otsego County study for housing for low- to moderate-income families, RSS officials said.
RSS officials said they would be moving forward with the proposed development and preparations for a site plan review of the project, and they plan to attend the Planning Commission meeting at 7 p.m. Oct. 17.
In 2007, the city’s Common Council approved the construction of a 60-unit condominium complex at the same site, but the developer didn’t proceed with the project, which was to be named Riverside Gardens.
Timothy J. Fogarty, director of facility services at RSS in Altamont, said the project site was chosen because of its size, location and its availability for purchase.
Fogarty said RSS has conditional contracts to buy the property. No budget has been developed for the development, he said, and plans are to submit applications for funding to the state Housing and Community Renewal department in December, with a response possible by June 1.
If the project advances optimally, construction could start in 2020, Fogarty said. Construction would take about 14 to 16 months to completion, however, the plan would be to phase in occupancy as buildings were finished.
The proposed 64-unit development would include 28 one-bedroom units, 28 two-bedroom units and eight three-bedroom units, officials said, with an occupancy of up to 108 residents. Fourteen of the units would be reserved for individuals in recovery from drug or alcohol abuse, officials said, and the proposal includes a community building with recreational and laundry rooms and space for management offices.
RSS, which has had community programs in Oneonta for about 30 years, administers the Elmwood House and the Oneonta Bagel Co.
Rehabilitation Support Services was founded in 1979 and provides community-based mental health and substance abuse services to more than 3,000 individuals annually in local and other counties, according to its website.
Fogarty said RSS hasn’t met yet with investors who might be interested in buying tax credits stemming from the project. RSS also intends to pay property taxes on the property but is interested in arranging a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes plan, he said.
The proposed development is planned in a district zoned for residential use, said Joanne Darcy Crum, attorney for the project.
The Planning Commission would be interested in being the lead agency in the review of the project, according to Anna Tomaino, commission chairwoman.
“This is going to be a big project,” she said.
On Wednesday night, commissioners asked preliminary questions about environmental impacts, energy use and conservation, funding sources, buffers and meetings with neighbors.
The apartments would be wood-frame construction in a cottage style with eight apartments in each of eight buildings, said Brian L. Barker, architect for the RSS project.
Criminal background checks will be conducted on potential residents, among other reviews, including income and asset reviews, Fogarty said.
“It’s in our interest to have good tenants,” he said. RSS is considering hiring a management company to oversee the property, he added.
Denise Richardson, staff writer, may be reached at (607) 441-7213 or at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @DS_DeniseR.