SKANEATELES | Real estate developers Mike McCracken, Gary Manville and Rob Casper have formally introduced to the Skaneateles Town Board their proposal for a senior housing development on the eastern side of town on Route 20.

Initially, the developers were working on the sale of the former Pat Bombard Chevrolet property, but they began to think about how that could be incorporated into a project with three surrounding properties.

The developers said those properties are under contract, and the owners are amenable to an eventual sale. The developers aim to annex all four town properties into the village to take advantage of the municipality's sewer and water system.

"Something's going to go on those properties eventually," Casper said at a recent town board meeting. "I don't see people putting money into them and then carrying on the existing businesses. So if something's going to go there, why not take the opportunity to make the right thing go there, the thing that is actually needed in this community?"

Casper and his partners have discussed the proposed 72-unit senior housing development with the town and village planning boards, as well as with the local citizen group Citizens to Preserve the Character of Skaneateles.

That group recommended the development offer plenty of green space and "that it has to look like it fits into the community and that it's been there forever," Casper said.

The project's major stumbling block would be sufficient water and sewer service, McCracken said.

"I just don't see how we can move forward keeping it in the town without the ability to get into the sewer," he said. "Obviously, we don't desire to pay more taxes by being in the village, but it has to be done to move forward."

The developers met informally with Onondaga County health department officials, they said, but no formal water studies were conducted.

Existing leach fields that contribute to the lake's watershed on those four properties need modernizing, McCracken said, and his company is prepared to financially co-sponsor environmentally friendly upgrades.

The developers are emphasizing how property and school taxes from the addition of a 72-unit facility would be a financial gain to the village, town and school district.

Town attorney Pat Sardino said he and village attorney Michael Byrne should get together to work on contingent annexation language.

Carrie Chantler may be reached at 685-5701 or carrie.chantler@lee.net

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