This could really change the appearance of downtown Ithaca. Hope it happens. There's a bunch of info here. From the Ithaca Journal:
Buildings downtown could get taller
Proposed new height regulations part of density drive
5:21 PM, Dec 14, 2012
As part of encouraging density downtown, city planning staff have drafted amendments to the zoning ordinance to allow for taller buildings in certain locations, including the site where a 137-foot, 10-story mixed-use project is proposed.
Among the changes would be a transition zone west of The Commons, between Seneca and Green Streets. The limit there now is 50 feet along State/Martin Luther King Jr. streets and 40 feet along Seneca and Green. A building could be up to 55 feet tall if that portion is 30 feet from the front of the building. A portion stepped back 45 feet from the first stepped-back portion could go up to 80 feet without being visible from the street. The idea is to hide the tall portion from view on the street and sidewalk.
Among other changes is the Green Street side of the block bordered by Green, Aurora and Cayuga streets and The Commons. In place of the 60-foot limit, 140 feet would be the new limit.
It is this block where developers have proposed a 10-story, 137-foot-tall tower as part of the mixed-use project called Harold’s Square. The building would link renovated retail spaces at 123-127, 133, 135 and 137-139 The Commons, with the apartment tower rising behind them. The proposal goes before the Planning and Economic Development Board on Tuesday. Under present restrictions, it would need a height variance. It’s a project of L Enterprises, majority-owned by brother and sister David Lubin, of Elmira, and Enid Littman, of Ithaca, owners of the former Harold’s Army Navy store.
Tobacco ordinance snuffed out for now
A proposed ordinance cracking down on smoking-related stores is headed for the ash tray, at least temporarily.
The Common Council Planning and Economic Development Committee reviewed a draft version of the ordinance this week and decided it needed more work.
The Downtown Ithaca Alliance suggested the ordinance this fall. It would set up a system of special tobacco-selling licenses and not allow two within 500 feet of one another or a school. No tobacco products or paraphernalia could be in a display window.
While the ordinance mentions only tobacco, the DIA suggested the measure after several paraphernalia shops opened on and near The Commons selling smoking pipes of the kind often also used with marijuana.
Collegetown project back
Collegetown Crossing, the proposed apartment complex on the site of a former drugstore at 307 College Ave. and slated to have a new location of Greenstar Cooperative Market, is back before the city Board of Zoning Appeals on Thursday with a new twist.
Applicant Josh Lower, representing J & W House, now proposes to rent 16 parking spaces in an attempt to meet zoning requirements to provide parking, according to a public notice published by the city.
Lower and J & W House propose to redevelop 307 College Ave. with a 50-apartment, six-story building on a parcel consolidated with 226 Linden Ave., the adjoining piece of land on the east side of the block. Under current zoning law in that part of the city, one parking space is required for every two people housed, or 57 spaces. Lower paid for a study that determined the need for parking would be mitigated by alternatives such as providing bus passes and subsidized car-sharing memberships to tenants, providing a bus stop and shelter, and having a grocery store on-site. Lower and Greenstar Cooperative Market have announced plans for a Greenstar location in the building.
The city Planning and Development Board agreed that the measures would compensate for much of the parking requirement but found 19 would still be needed. Lower seeks a variance from the requirement, as well as a setback variance. He has located one parking space to rent within the ordinance’s 500-foot requirement and 15 spaces beyond it; other spaces he could lease are more than 1,600 feet away from the site.
When the matter was before the BZA Nov. 6, several residents of Collegetown endorsed the plan, though a couple others spoke against it. Some BZA members expressed skepticism, and expecting lengthy discussion, the board postponed a decision.
Henry St. John district plan advances
Plans to officially designate the Henry St. John neighborhood as a city historic district moved forward this week with mostly positive comments at a public hearing on the proposal. City historic preservation planner Lynn Truame described comments as all positive at the hearing, with two petitions in favor, and one e-mail in opposition from a property owner.
The next step is for the Planning Board to consider the designation in light of zoning, the comprehensive plan and any known plans for development in the affected area. The plan is on the board’s agenda for Tuesday. It will then go to the Planning and Economic Development Committe of Common Council, then to the full council.
The area contains some of downtown’s largest intact homes in a variety of 19th and early-20th century styles, and was occupied by many prominent residents. It lies between Green Street on the north and Titus Avenue on the south, and generally Geneva Street to Albany Street.
Town, city pursue joint zoning project
The Common Council Planning and Development Committee advanced an agreement this week to jointly develop a shared zoning code with the Town of Ithaca on certain areas in both municipalities.
The town and city would hire a consultant to develop form-based code for certain areas of the city and town. Form-based code stresses not so much land uses as in traditional zoning, but appearance, or form, of buildings, along with standards for such things as landscaping, signage, drainage, slope development, tree protection and access to sunlight, according to the Form-Based Codes Institute, a professional organization for urban planners. The city has sought form-based zoning in Collegetown, and the town’s comprehensive plan recommends using it.
The project will focus on particular areas: the Pier Road-TCAT headquarters, Farmers Market, Ithaca Community Garden area; Inlet Island and the city’s West End; Cherry Street and Floral Avenue; the city’s Southwest development and natural areas; and Five Mile Drive and Route 13 in the town generally between the city and Newfield lines.
Here's the link: