Rehabilitation Support Services will move forward with plans for its proposed Riverside Apartments in Oneonta despite not receiving funding from New York State Homes and Community Renewal for the affordable housing project in the Sixth Ward, according to a May 29 statement from RSS. 

RSS expects to meet with NYSHCR over the next few weeks to review its application, according to the statement. RSS officials said they hope to better understand perceived strengths and weaknesses of the application and intend to resubmit it for an upcoming round of NYSHCR funding, the statement read. 

Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig previously said RSS did not communicate its plans with stakeholders properly and had presented a fully developed project at the 11th hour, with no opportunity for input from the community. 

In response to concerns that RSS didn't engage the community enough before presenting the plan, RSS Managing Director Ed Butz told The Daily Star the organization needed to move quickly because there is "not enough money available for the needs existing in the state." 

Butz said he believes the mayor became concerned with neighbors' opposition to the project. Some Sixth Ward residents complained last fall when RSS presented their preliminary plans to the city Planning Committee, and the company withdrew its site plan approval application.

"I think there was some misunderstandings about what creating affordable housing for people means," Butz said. "There’s still just a tremendous need for affordable housing in Oneonta." 

The proposed 64-unit development would be built on 6.5 acres between River Street and West Broadway. It would have an occupancy of up to 108 residents.

RSS expects to leverage several additional sources of financing as well, according to the statement. Butz said RSS will look again at the project’s budget, which was put together last year, to account for changing costs. 

"The only thing that I think would prevent us from moving forward was if there was no longer a need for affordable housing in Oneonta," Butz said. 

Shweta Karikehalli, staff writer, can be reached at 607-441-7221 or skarikehalli@thedailystar.com. Follow her on Twitter at @DS_ShwetaK.