By Margo Frink
(Oneida, NY – Nov. 15) Two Plus Four Companies and the Oneida Healthcare Center got the go ahead from the Planning Commission for its three-lot minor sub-division and gave positive recommendations for site plans to build Seneca Fields Apartments, a 32-unit senior housing facility, after a public hearing Nov. 15.
The facility will be built off the Seneca Street extension with frontage on Fairview Avenue. Changes made after last month’s presentation to the Commission include: moving the dumpster from the north side to the south side of the building, adding a sidewalk along the roadway to Seneca Street and doing away with a bus stop because the porch has an overhang with benches. Possibly a gazebo or some other structure will be added.
Larry Hobbs, Fairview Avenue resident who lives east of the planned housing had concerns with “light pollution” and his view of the dumpster.
“Can you plant trees or something so I don’t have to look at a thousand older people?” Hobbs asked. “Is this the best use of the land? What are you going to do with the other parcels? A building could be built right up to my line.”
Susan Bacon Kimmel, president of Two Plus Four Companies and partners with OHC on the project said uses for the other parcels has yet to be determined but at the Oct. 18 meeting it was discussed that an assisted living facility could be built on of the other lots.
Hobbs asked if they could plant some trees along the property line so that they may be mature by the time the other lots are developed.
“It will take value away from my property,” Hobbs said.
Kimmel said the plans include dark sky lighting and a vinyl enclosure on the dumpster. She addressed the “best use” of the property by saying the facility stays in connection to the hospital for the residents.
“We can certainly look at something along the side by way of trees,” Kimmel said.
The apartments are not assisted living or subsidized housing but rather low-income. Income restrictions for a single person is $28,020 a year and for double occupancy, $31,980 a year. Plans are to construct 28 one-bedroom units and four two-bedroom units. Residents must be 55 years of age or older.
Don’t Fence Me In
After a public hearing and a lengthy discussion on a proposed fence around a parking lot, the Planning Commission gave its approval for a three-lot minor subdivision located at Messenger and Cedar streets, zoned Commercial and owned by the city of Oneida. The parcel is the parking lot behind the Kallet Civic Center. Commissioner Kipp Hicks abstained.
Planning Director Cassie Rose explained that the Common Council wants to sub-divide the lot into three lots, gift two lots to the Madison County Industrial Development Agency that will eventually merge into one lot. The city will retain the other lot.
The IDA is facilitating a sale of the Oneida Plaza Building that sets north of the Kallet on Main Street. The sale is not final as of yet and according to fire Chief Greg Myers, Dr. John J. Costello Jr. is looking to purchase the building.
Myers, who had a site plan of the parking lot in his possession, said he was not opposed to the sub-division or the gift or the sale, but opposes plans that show a fence being erected around the lot behind the Plaza building.
Myers said it would be very difficult for fire personnel to get into that area during an emergency if there was a fence there.
Also discussed was the city losing parking spaces during the hours of 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Myers said the building’s new owners would allow public parking before and after those hours. But during those hours would monitor the lot.
Members of the Commission also expressed opposition to the fence but if the fence is three-feet tall or less, than a permit is not required. As long as it meets city codes, it can go up.
City Attorney Nadine Bell said she would put a courtesy call into city officials that addresses the Commissions displeasure with the fence.
Bell also explained the city cannot sell property but once it’s gifted can be paid for its value through the sale.
Margo Frink is vice president of M3P Media LLC and publisher of the Madison County Courier. She can be reached at Margo@m3pmedia.com or 315-481-8732.