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Triphammer ApartmentsWhen it became clear that close to thirty trees were marked for removal at Triphammer Apartments, LLC (formerly Chateau Claire Apartments), residents were concerned.  Some called local newspapers, some called Tompkins County Legislator Dooley Kiefer, and some called the Village of Lansing.  The next day the trees, mostly willows, started coming down.

"The trees (many mature willows) distinguished this older apartment complex in the Village of Lansing from all the others in the county,” Kiefer said.

It turned out that the new owners, Park Grove Realty, LLC., were removing the trees both to keep them from doing further damage to the apartment buildings and municipal utilities, and to make room for new covered garages and a small office building for a new Apartment Complex Manager.

Triphammer Apartments

Village of Lansing Code Enforcement/Zoning Officer Marty Moseley says the willows were damaging sewer and water lines and damaging the apartment buildings.  He says willow roots presented a danger to the sewer and water pipes, noting that roots had to be cut out of the lines a number of times.

"Not to say I am endorsing the removal of trees, but these trees did cause quite a bit of maintenance issues for our DPW staff," Moseley says.  "Those were substantial 30 inch willows on top of a sewer line.  If that were to be damaged or need to be repaired the tree wold have come down anyway, because it is over an easement area."

Mosely said the mature trees were also too close to the buildings, causing a mildew problem that damaged roofs, caused rotting and problems with drainage.  Kiefer expressed disappointment that the Village doesn't have stricter ordinances governing tree removal, but Moseley says that the damage to the complex, water, and sewer lines would have made it difficult to say no to the owners, who did check with his office before removing the trees.

"If trees are causing that much damage to a property, we, as the Village, can’t really say no you can’t remove the trees," Moseley says.  "That would cause a hardship on that owner. While they were removing the trees I walked through the site with them.  They had a lot of rotten trees, as well.  They were in need of coming down, because they caused a danger to their residents and to the businesses on the other side."

Triphammer Apartments Building Plan

On July 12 Tom LiVigne, representing Park Grove Realty, and Passero Associates' Jess Sudol presented a plan to the Village Trustees that will bring up to three covered garages and a 425 square foot office building that will facilitate a on-site manager for the complex, a new feature for residents in the complex.  Two 2,709 square foot parking garages will have ten parking spaces each, with a possible third garage to be built later.  The owners said they would be made available to residents on a first-come, first served basis.

Moseley noted that the Tompkins County Planning Department has already determined there are no interconnected or county-wide impacts or concerns.  He says a formal application has been submitted for the project, but the Village Planning Board has concerns that need to be addressed before a special permit is approved.

"The Planning board asked for a landscaping plan to be presented, since so many trees were removed," Moseley says.  "They understand that they removed them for issues associated with the property, but they would like to see what they are going to put back, whether it be bushes or flowers so they can approve that formally as well with this project."

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