DORMS

Residents around CCC campus question dorm project's impact on neighborhood

2013-01-09T03:30:00Z 2013-01-09T03:31:57Z Residents around CCC campus question dorm project's impact on neighborhoodKelly Voll The Citizen Auburn Citizen
January 09, 2013 3:30 am  • 

AUBURN | Residents of Prospect, Franklin and Bowen streets and Boyle and Brister avenues made their voices heard Tuesday when presented with a design concept for a new dormitory behind Cayuga Community College.

They don’t want it — at least as it was presented.

CCC held a neighborhood meeting to inform residents on streets that would be impacted by the future dorm of what the project will entail. The 300-bed dorm, announced recently by the college, would include living spaces, a fitness center, a multi-purpose area and a 70-space parking lot.

CCC has said it needs to be able to house students to be competitive.

This site is planned for an area behind CCC’s Auburn campus that borders the wooded walking trail and is planned to have a driveway off Prospect Street, according to renderings.

Bruce King, an architect with Holmes King Kallquist & Associates Architects, presented the project at the meeting. Residents from several neighborhoods that would be most impacted were invited, said Margaret Spillett, CCC's public relations director.

As soon as the presentation concluded, a tempest of questions and concerns came from residents. King and CCC President Daniel Larson fielded them.

“I think we are forgetting this is a neighborhood,” said Rusty Tierney, a resident. “You’re literally putting 70 parking spaces across from my house. … You’re destroying the neighborhood. You’re destroying the tax base.”

King assured Tierney that traffic on Prospect Street would decrease because students would live on campus and no longer need to drive to class, but Tierney and others were skeptical.

“Stop saying it’s going to reduce traffic,” Tierney said.

“We’re going to be getting the traffic, the delivery trucks, the lights shining into Rusty’s house,” said resident Elaine Nolan.

Resident Rhonda McConnell is also concerned about traffic. She said her house has been hit by speeding motorists twice in the time she’s lived there.

“I’m scared for my kids,” she said.

Other residents were worried about crime and student parties.

“Are you going to staff public safety 24 hours a day?” asked resident Shawn Butler.

Larson said there would be 24-hour public safety personnel, and also said there will be a zero-tolerance rule for drugs and alcohol.

“Zero tolerance — it’s the only way,” Larson said.

Matt Fraher, another resident, asked if studies had been done on crime rates with the addition of student housing in similar situations.

“When you consolidate 300 students from, let’s be honest, God knows where … have you studied any of that as far as crime rates?” he asked.

Larson believes the dorm’s planned full-time residence director and campus security will limit crime, and J. Andrew Breuer, principal at Hueber-Breuer Construction, said the dorm is geared toward attracting a higher caliber of student who is more serious and less likely to cause trouble.

Residents were also concerned about the walking trails behind CCC, although Jeffrey Rosenthal, president of the Faculty-Student Association and vice president of student affairs, assured them nothing will put the trails at risk.

“The faculty would never allow the nature preserve or any of the walking trail system to go away,” he said. “It’s a community treasure.”

Another resident was worried about litter.

“I am concerned about the kids having to walk to get food and dropping their garbage in our neighborhood,” said resident Karen Quest.

Although a couple of residents were open to the dorm, most of the attendees took issue with the concept as presented; some even joked about moving out. Larson said he wished there was another way to expand without impacting neighbors.

“I wish the college had 500 acres to expand out,” he said.

After the meeting, as residents filed out, Larson said he believed it went well.

“(It was) an opportunity for the neighbors to come and see the presentation of our concept and for them to respond to it,” he said.

He said the project is flexible and could change, based on the climate of the neighborhood.

“These concerns very well could change the project and how it moves forward,” he said. “I don’t think we want people to feel like they need to sell their houses and move.”

The project is expected to break ground in May or June of this year, Larson said.

Staff writer Kelly Voll can be reached at 282-2239 or kelly.voll@lee.net. Follow her on Twitter at CitizenVoll.

Copyright 2015 Auburn Citizen. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(5) Comments

  1. hmm ok
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    hmm ok - January 11, 2013 12:12 pm
    TellYouWhat, With Respect....I am pretty sure that the majority of the residents surrounding the college purchased their properties so they can could live there and raise a family not as a flip real estate venture. If that was the case we would all be handing over our keys to the college before the neighborhood value plummets. While real estate IS an investment, real estate also equates to home, neighborhood and sense of belonging. The neighborhoods adjacent to the college are tenuous and easily diminished by college expansion. They border a slender buffer zone on the Grant Ave side and diminishing agriculture on the Sennett side. Development of a single residential lot weakens the fabric of the overall whole. You just have to look at the missing house, and isolated remaining houses at Franklin Street and Prospect Corner to see the effects and to see where the development is headed. Even the "well educated" are not going to be interested in that investment.
  2. TellYouWhat
    Report Abuse
    TellYouWhat - January 10, 2013 9:36 am
    With all of our low-skilled jobs being shipped off to foreign lands, the need for higher education is essential. The residents living around the college own property that is considered above average compared to most properties in Auburn. Perhaps they have not taken into consideration who else could afford to buy their properties? Certaintly not someone working at McDonald's earning minimum wage. If they ever want to sell their houses, and earn some equity, they are going to need an educated buyer with a good paying job. Having a dorm in their backyard doesn't seem like such a bad idea anymore now does it?
  3. patchwork
    Report Abuse
    patchwork - January 09, 2013 11:18 am
    I agree that the college board should do their best to achieve one of the finest institutions possible, but at the same time they should not be allowed to trample on the rights of neighbors and should not be allowed to have tax exempt status for this venture while they enter into direct competition for student housing revenues with tax paying businesses and local landlords. The college should be willing to compensate neighbors for their loss of privacy and a depreciation of their property values and also should be persuaded to make payments to the local governing bodies equal to an amount that would be paid on fully taxed property.
  4. hmm ok
    Report Abuse
    hmm ok - January 09, 2013 9:54 am
    What is good for a prospering educational institution is good for the larger community. Keeping up with the other community colleges is a must for CCC to succeed in a very competitive market. Achieving this within the physical geographical constraints of Auburn and the edge of Sennett without major disruption is impossible. All involved....the college, the president and neighbors are disillusioned if they think they can enhance the school in a way that preserves the surrounding neighborhoods, traffic patterns and infrastructure. When CCC tries so step up pace area community colleges it is fallacy to think that the major change is not in the future. Every effort will be made, if the college board does their job, to achieve the status of the finest educational institution. This cannot be done by staying moderately sized, without dorms, without every amenity the competitor has. "it went well"...why yes of course, the neighbors noted they might sell. Yes the college is buying.
  5. patchwork
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    patchwork - January 09, 2013 6:38 am
    Will the new housing be taxed? What happens to Lattimore Hall downtown and others that depend on student revenue to make ends meet? Can we expect another large PILOT so that the building dowtown can be changed into some other useful purpose? I understand the desire to have student housing and how the college wants to grow, but does that trump what's best for the neighborhood or what's best for the city taxpayers?
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