AUBURN -- A proposal for a $9.5 million senior housing community met with opposition at a Tuesday meeting of the city planning board from nearby residents who complained of the noise, traffic and environmental impact they believe the 110-unit facility would create.

Calamar Construction, a Wheatfield-based company that specializes in the design and construction of independent senior living communities, appeared at the planning board with drawings of the proposed development.

Jocelyn Bos, Calamar's director of senior housing development, provided the board with data from the U.S. Census and a market study conducted by the company showing that median-level income senior housing is needed in Auburn and the surrounding towns.

But a number of residents from nearby Catlin and North Lewis streets and Standart Avenue said the development was unwanted in their neighborhood.

"This complex does not fit in with our residential area," Catlin Street resident Debbie Van Dyke said. "It will change dramatically the character of our neighborhood and the nuisance this will create while being built will created unwanted noise and traffic."

Van Dyke added that the wooded area the proposed three-story building would occupy is home to a diverse array of wildlife and plant species.

Resident Tom Gabak said a group of concerned neighbors is currently trying to raise funds to purchase the vacant land in hopes that the Calamar proposal falls through to keep the land "forever green."

Calamar lead engineer Ben Gustafson said many of the residents' concerns had already been addressed by changes to the site plans.

He said the buffer zone between Catlin Street residents and a line of garages to be constructed for the building's occupants was increased from 30 feet to 100 feet, and the main entrance to the facility, previously on North Lewis Street, was amended in the drawings to connect to Standart, a move recommended by the city's planning office.

Gustafson said the purchase of the property to re-connect the driveway, however, is still in negotiations by the company.

The planning board voted unanimously to act as the lead agency for the environmental review of the site plan.

City Planner Steve Selvek explained that the vote was only the first step in the process for the development.

After circulating the plan to the involved agencies, the planning board will make a decision on the environmental review, then send the development to the zoning board of appeals for a use variance.

The planning board next meets at 6:30 p.m. on May 1.

Staff writer Nathan Baker can be reached at 282-2238 or nathan.baker@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter at CitizenBaker.

(14) comments

irritated
irritated

Typical small minded Auburnian thinking, why should we expect anything else in this dreary behind the times City of naysayers?

patchwork
patchwork

[quote]irritated said: "Typical small minded Auburnian thinking, why should we expect anything else in this dreary behind the times City of naysayers?"[/quote]


Isn't this the same parcel that the P&C Grocery chain wanted to build on some years back? If it is, imagine the hole we would have had today, if people didn't oppose it. The taxpaying neighbors have a right to voice their opinions when a change like this is happening right in their backyards. I'd like to know if this project will be on the property tax rolls and how much they are expected to pay.

Floretta
Floretta

I have an idea - let's build the senior housing UNDERGROUND! Yeah! Then the area can be replanted and made just like it was before for the pleasure of a couple dozen residents who live to see greenery and watch Bambi and friends frolic.

Geez Louis, these same people have blocked every proposal for this site over the last 30 years. Maybe if they (and only they) were billed for the lost tax revenue every year they might reconsider.

Where I grew up there was a huge empty lot two blocks from my home where the neighborhood kids used to play. It gor overgrown with yard high weeds and grasses, cut about twice a year - small cicuses used it for their shows before they moved to Emerson Park. Then one day the bulldozers came and took most of it down, and houses went up. I'm old enough to remember when there was no road between Franklin Street and Grant Ave at Standart - it was open field with wild strawberries. The world changes, life goes on.

Floretta
Floretta

Sorry - that's "got", "circuses" and "Louise" - can we have an edit button please?

gmcgdeverona
gmcgdeverona

There is an environmental impact possible here as well as a quality of life issue involved. I moved away from New Jersey because they were allowing over-building to destroy green-space,and there is the risk that these residents will choose to do the same. That puts the tax base at risk, especially if these homes then become impossible to sell because of the construction.The surrounding streets are not up to the truck traffic required for a project of this scope, and would require extensive maintenance during and after such abuse. This would not be a cost absorbed by the builders but by the City. Even if the project is included on the tax rolls, will it offset the possible loss of residents and their tax payments as well as their buying power in the City? I believe that there are better places this project could be located, with much less impact on long-time residents and neighborhoods.

Farmer's Gal
Farmer's Gal

Man, the people of Auburn are not exactly a warm and welcoming community, are they? First they don't want veterans, and now they don't want old folks. Where are they supposed to go? People out here in the boonies would love to be able to stay in their own community and not have to move away when they get too old to stay in their own homes alone -- but no one is up for building senior housing.

There's an empty school right across the street from my house. I would be delighted if someone wanted to renovate it for affordable senior housing. Do you really believe that relatives are beating down the door to come visit the old folks once they move into senior housing so that traffic is going to be so intensely increased to make it a problem? Do you think the seniors are going to be out causing trouble and making noise at all hours in the neighborhood? Or that they'll be drawing the wrong kind of people to visit?

Send those developers to Genoa!

Farmer's Gal
Farmer's Gal

If we are lucky, some day we will all be old -- and hoping there is a place in this world for us.

cnylife
cnylife

Those rowdy oldsters with their hot cars doing donuts in the parking lot, all night bingo parties, and walkers clinking down the sidewalk. Oh the horror.

NoNameHere
NoNameHere

This company obviously is in business to make a profit. They aren't even a local investor. They are looking for cheap land to build low-income senior housing on. Granted, the options for senior housing in Auburn are limited. We have three high rise buildings all in downtown. Not very safe if they ever needed to escape in a hurry. I like the idea of having housing on the gound level it just makes sense. Especially for seniors with limited mobility.

There must be other alternatives than disrupting a residental neighborhood though? And what about the location? This location dosent prove to be condusive to seniors. It is not close to anything. The senior apartments downtown work well because they are close to everything.

There are lots of empty buildings that could be put to use in downtown. I have to agree with the residents.

Floretta
Floretta

NoNameHere: re "This location dosent prove to be condusive to seniors..." Not conducive? There are two pharmacies, a gas station, Kostas and Ann's Diner, and Dunkin Donuts, plus Tim Hortons, ALL of the Grant Ave shopping a stone's throw away AND the bus goes by on Grant Ave and Standart Ave, the hospital is a few blocks west, plus several doctor's offices. Yeah - out in the middle of nowhere.

Farmer's Gal
Farmer's Gal

Right -- so, the general position is -- where can we hide away our old folks and veterans so we don't have to see them or deal with them around our homes?

NoNameHere
NoNameHere

[quote]Floretta said: "NoNameHere: re "This location dosent prove to be condusive to seniors..." Not conducive? There are two , a gas station, Kostas and Ann's Diner, and Dunkin Donuts, plus Tim Hortons, ALL of the Grant Ave shopping a stone's throw away AND the bus goes by on Grant Ave and Standart Ave, the hospital is a few blocks west, plus several doctor's offices. Yeah - out in the middle of nowhere. "[/quote]

Ok, I'll give you the Pharmacies, and the Hospital. But KOSTA'S?!?! A sports bar?!?! Yeah, the seniors are flocking there. And Dunkin Donuts, and Tim Hortons? The majority of seniors are supposed to be watching their caffeine intake, as well as sugar intake since many of them are now diabetic. I Cant see them pounding down donuts and coffee.

And besides, what makes this developer think that seniors with moderate income want to stay to Auburn anyway? I hear housing is pretty cheap down in Florida now. Sunshine, Golf Carts,and Bingo...Sure Beats BlahBurn!!!

patchwork
patchwork

If what this company has done in their other developments is any indication of what they want, they will be asking for a PILOT agreement. This project may also depress an already difficult housing market in the area. 110 new housing units will become available, many of those new occupants will add their homes to the ones already up for sale and drive prices down. This project will add to the number of properties not on the tax rolls and will put more of a burden on those who pay, again driving down prices. It is not fair to the taxpaying public to keep taking properties off of the rolls forcing the rest of us to pay more or sell our homes at reduced prices and move out. They have developments near Buffalo with PILOTs, there are over 20,000 vacant houses there, it just doesn't make sense.

NoNameHere
NoNameHere

Thats right Patchwork, And now they want to build a trail that goes right through the backyards of tax paying citizens. Imagine what that will do to the value of their properties? Many will probably sell, once again flooding the market with more homes, decreasing the value. But they will just keep raising taxes until no one can afford to live here.

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