A group of Lansing residents got an early look at the proposed 'Lansing Trails Apartments' development that is one of two solid proposals for town land across Route 34B (Auburn Road) from the Town ball fields. Of questions raised by residents and town officials, the greatest concern was fear of crime a subsidized housing project might bring to the Town. But Cornerstone Group President Roger Brandt said their property management company has strict rules that force tenants to leave after a second infraction.
"The key for managing the process is management," said Brandt. "I wouldn't want to go up against the person who runs that property management company, because if you get a lease violation you get one warning. Second one you're out. We do have a very tough policy with regard to managing the process, because it's a reflection on us, and it's just a nightmare."
Other concerns were raised about traffic, maintaining the Lansing Center trail, infrastructure, sidewalks, and traffic the development might generate through neighborhoods on and around Woodsedge Drive.
The project is expected to be constructed in two phases. The first phase (lower left portion of the map at right) will include 9 apartment buildings containing 72 multi-family (one, two, and three bedroom apartments) plus a 3,100 square foot community center on about 13.5 acres. The community center will have an office for the property management staff, a community room, storage, a fitness area, computer rooms, and laundry areas. This phase also includes a playground and community gardens, a package wastewater treatment plant north of the Phase One buildings between two proposed stormwater ponds, and stormwater management areas. A road, about 600 feet long, will connect to Auburn Road (State Route 34B), creating a four-way intersection with Woodsedge Drive.
Of the 72 units, eight are expected to rent at market rate, with the remaining units going for about $700 to $750 for one bedroom units, $835 to $850 for two bedroom apartments, and about $950 to $1,100 for three bedrooms. Market rate units might rent for as high as $1,400 for a three bedroom apartment. Brandt said his group hopes to begin construction on Phase 1 next summer.
Phase Two adds 7 more buildings on another 8.9 acres (upper left). This phase adds 56 apartment units. A second wastewater package plant is planned next to the first one for ease of maintaining both. Construction would begin at least three years after Phase One.
"I understand there is a waiting list at Woodsedge," Brandt said. "On these projects there is a prescripted market study analysis which is done. A good capture rate of 10% - 20% to make a project work. We have to capture 2%, which means that this market is very, very strong and very much in need of multi-family housing. Those people in the formula have to meet the income requirements, and some of the modeling that we've done is driven by that market analysis. there is demand here, and there is a shortage of housing options. This is a very strong demand market."
Lansing Supervisor Ed LaVigne, Councilman Doug Dake, and Planning Board Chairman Tom Ellis raised concerns about projects of this kind attracting crime to the center of Lansing.
"I've hard nightmares about Poet's Landing," Ellis said. "The other is the Overlook across from the Hospital. When you can read in the paper on a weekly basis there have been drug raids, parking lot intrusions. I can only imagine the calls they get up there."
LaVigne said he had talked to the Dryden Police and said they told him they are called every day to Poet's Landing, which is at least physically similar to the proposed Lansing project. He said that a lot of people think of that development when they think about subsidized housing here. He told developers they would have to get in front of that issue as they go through the approval process. Neighbors were concerned about the sort of people who would be walking through the neighborhoods on and near Woodsedge Drive to get to a growing business area that includes the new Dollar general store and other businesses like Jump Around Inflatables.
"That's probably one of the biggest hurdles you're going to have," warned Dake. "That's what I hear from constituents, that it's going to be another Poet's Landing. They are very concerned. And if that element is here, how do you get rid of it?"
Brandt promised to bring statistics from similar projects his company has built for a future presentation to the Town.
"We'll come back and share some of policies with you," he said. "We'll make that part of our response and presentation."
Additional traffic was another concern raised by neighbors, but Passero Associates Vice President Jess Sudol said that anticipated traffic from this project would not trigger NYS Department of Transportation (DOT) triggers for a turn lane or traffic light.
"The 72 units generate approximately 50 trips during the peak hour," he said. "That's 50 trips total, entering and exiting. Of that 50, approximately 60% would be entering off of Auburn Road. That would be approximately 30 vehicles with 20 exiting. One of the things that we look at are signal warrants, signal warrants that are published by the DOT. In this case none of the warrants are for a turn lane or a signal light."
Ellis asked if there had been consideration of the impact to the Lansing School system. While property tax generated from the project will enlarge the assessed tax base in Lansing, too many additional children could trigger the need for added class space.
"43 school aged children would be generated by 72 units," Brandt said. "Of these 43 students K to 12, 29 children would be new to the Lansing School District. 14 would be existing students."
The 'Lansing Trails Apartments' development is one of two that have purchase agreements subject to their projects being approved. Lansing Cottage Community project, slated for a 10 acre parcel to the southwest of the Cornerstone project, would bring 10 new small single-family homes in a first phase, and potentially 50 more for-sale homes in two more phases if the market responds favorably.