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posticon Planning Board Dismayed by Mall Senior Housing Plan

News | Friday, July 28, 2017 | By Dan Veaner Print
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Lansing MeadowsThis 2017 rendering shows a three-story, 30 apartment building facing Oakcrest Road with 54 parking spaces. Wetlands have been greatly reduced, and a bird sanctuary is no longer contemplated.

Village of Lansing Planning Board members said in no uncertain terms Tuesday that they would not approve the most recent incarnation of the Lansing Meadows project that would bring rental senior housing to the Shops at Ithaca Mall.  The project, originally 12 units in cottage-style buildings intended for rental to seniors, a wetlands area and bird sanctuary, was part of a plan to make the construction of a big box store to the north of the mall palatable to the Village, and to provide a buffer from the commercial area and a gradual transition from the high density commercial area to residential neighborhoods north of Oakcrest Road.  Planning Board members said they had been tolerant of delays, changes to the plan, and even a small commercial area they did not want, but the latest design was unacceptable.

"What I see now is, you got BJ's, which you cashed out of; you now want and have obtained permission to put in a coffee shop; now you want us to say, 'nah, we don't want those cottages to look like residences.  We'll take a big building'," Planning Board member Deborah Dawson told developer Eric Goetzmann Tuesday.  "No habitat.  No wetlands.  No good looking green space.  Just another big blocky building.  No transition.  As far as I'm concerned, what this thing looks like now is not at all what the PDA envisioned.  Not at all what the IDA thought they were getting.  Not a transition.  Not a neighborhood.  And not anything that really meets the requirements of the Comprehensive Plan.  So, as far as I'm concerned, my answer to all of this is no.  I want what we bargained for in the first place."

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posticon Small Home Community Proposed For Town Land

News | Friday, July 28, 2017 | By Dan Veaner Print
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Tiny Timbers InteriorHomes are timber framed with many wood finishes inside and outside, and some traditional dry wall finishes on the inside. Details include bamboo flooring, some stone flooring, stone counter tops, lighting, and wood ceilings. All photos and maps courtesy of STREAM Collaborative.

The Town of Lansing is negotiating with developers to finally sell parts of the 153 acre parcel of land across State Route 34B from the Town Hall campus and ball fields.  Two are further along in negotiations than others, and last week developers of one of them presented a preliminary view of their project to Town officials.  The Lansing Cottage Community project will likely begin with 10 single family homes, then, if the market will bear future phases, expand to a 60 home community.

The builder is called Tiny Timber, LLC, but these are not tiny houses.  'Tiny houses' tend to be only around 200 square feet, and built to travel on wheels.  Designs start at about 600 square feet for a cottage style home.  The Lansing project will be more in the 1,000 to 1200 square foot range, and possibly up to 1900 square feet if a home includes a finished basement.  The developer's aim is to provide smaller, good quality affordable homes targeted at young people looking for a first home or older homeowners who want to downsize.

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posticon Shared Services Panel Recommends Plan to Legislature

News | Friday, July 28, 2017 | By Marcia E. Lynch Print
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The Tompkins County Shared Services Panel has recommended a County Shared Services Plan, based on a proposal drafted on behalf of the panel by County Administrator Joe Mareane, from three months of panel deliberations. The Plan was approved at a meeting July 19th and sent on for the next step in the process.

The Shared Services Plan will now be submitted to the County Legislature, through its Government Operations Committee. The Legislature will review the Plan, then return it to the panel for final approval. Under New York State's County-wide Shared Services Property Tax Savings Plan Law, the Final Plan, including certified savings, must be submitted to the State by September 15.

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posticon Transportation Committee Again Examines Ride-Hailing Services

News | Friday, July 28, 2017 | By Marcia E. Lynch Print
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The Legislature's special Transportation Committee of again took up the issue of ride-hailing services Monday, which for nearly the past month have been authorized to operate in all of New York State.

As part of that session, the committee heard from officials of the ride-sharing service Lyft, the firm's Public Policy Manager, Funsha Owolabi, responding as part of his presentation to questions that have been raised regarding issues such as background check procedures for drivers and insurance coverage protections.  Addressing a question raised during public comment by Pete Myers of the Tompkins County Workers Center, Mr. Owolabi affirmed that, under New York State law, his service is required to provide Workers Compensation coverage to drivers, who work as independent contractors.  Mr. Owonabi commented that his firm is committed to helping to reduce the numbers of cars on the road and seeks a collaborative relationship with public transit.

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posticon Jail Study Committee Receives Jail Population Report

News | Friday, July 28, 2017 | By Marcia E. Lynch Print
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The Legislature's special Jail Study Committee heard consultants last week from the Center for Governmental Research (CGR) present their findings from their six-month study related to capacity issues at the Tompkins County Jail.

CGR's final report, received by the County last week, finds that Tompkins does not need to build a new jail or expand the number of beds in the existing jail, due both to Tompkins County population projections over the next 25 years and savings in bed days that can result from effective use and expansion of incarceration alternatives.

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posticon Legislation Allows Trained Firefighters From Other States

News | Friday, July 28, 2017 | By Office of NYS Senator Pam Helming Print
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Senator Pamela A. Helming (R,C,I-Canandaigua) announced Thursday that Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that she sponsored to allow paid and volunteer firefighters from other states to assist volunteer fire departments in New York State. The bill, S.6415, passed nearly unanimously in both the Senate and Assembly during this year's legislative session, and with the Governor's signature, it has become law after several years of effort in the State Legislature.

Many volunteer fire departments around New York State – especially in small, rural areas – already struggle with recruiting members and maintaining sufficient numbers, and significant, temporary increases in population during the summertime in these areas causes a higher demand for emergency services. At the same time, many individuals who visit these areas – often residing in New York State temporarily for several months during the tourist season – are trained and serve as firefighters in other states. By allowing these individuals who are members of fire departments in their home states to serve with volunteer fire departments in New York State, these volunteer fire departments can augment their membership during a critical time of the year.

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posticon TCAT and Cornell Agree on Annual Fare

News | Friday, July 28, 2017 | By TCAT and Cornell University Print
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Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit, Inc. (TCAT) and Cornell University signed a second Memorandum of Understanding in late June formalizing Cornell's annual fare payments to the transit agency through June 30, 2021.Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit, Inc. (TCAT) and Cornell University signed a second Memorandum of Understanding in late June formalizing Cornell's annual fare payments to the transit agency through June 30, 2021.

The most recent agreement increases Cornell's approximately $3.1 million annual fare payment by 1.5 percent each fiscal year from 2019 through 2021 for a total increase of $141,334. In addition, the university provides $837,432 in annual contractual payment as Cornell's equal share of the investment in TCAT made by the City of Ithaca, Tompkins County and Cornell and $152,090 for Cornell's equal annual share of capital expenses.

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posticon Helming Announces Bill to Allow Local Food Buying

News | Friday, July 28, 2017 | By Office of NYS Senator Pam Helming Print
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Senator Pamela Helming (R,C,I-Canandaigua) today announced that Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed a bill that she sponsored that allows local BOCES and municipalities to directly purchase New York State-produced foods. Senator Helming made this announcement during the Food Access and Health in Rural NY roundtable discussion that she hosted Friday at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva.Senator Pamela Helming (R,C,I-Canandaigua) today announced that Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed a bill that she sponsored that allows local BOCES and municipalities to directly purchase New York State-produced foods. Senator Helming made this announcement during the Food Access and Health in Rural NY roundtable discussion that she hosted Friday at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva.

Current law allows state agencies to spend up to $200,000 annually to purchase locally grown foods without going through formal procurement procedures. School districts are similarly authorized to spend up to a multiplier based on enrollment and school days, but local governments are limited to a $20,000 annual threshold for the purchase of local products.

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