I just found out that the Common Council passed the proposed downtown zoning changes mentioned in this article
Harold's Square: Downtown Ithaca poised to reach new heights
Common Council to take up density plan
10:02 AM, Jun 4, 2013
ITHACA — After years of talking up the virtues of a denser downtown, Ithaca Common Council is on the verge of approving the first major building and zoning measures designed to carry out that goal.
The city’s proposed rezoning of downtown, which includes new height limits of up to 140 feet along Green Street between Cayuga and Aurora streets, will get a public hearing and possible decision by Common Council on Wednesday.
The rezoning is part of the city’s push for increased downtown density to fight sprawl and build the tax base.
“It’s following the principle: if you can’t build out, you should build up,” said Alderman Seph Murtagh, D-Second Ward, chairman of the Common Council Planning and Economic Development Committee. “The idea of increasing density is that you decrease sprawl, you promote walkability. It’s good for sustainability, it’s good for the environment.”
The downtown package would raise the height limits in several zoning districts. The 140-foot district would take up much of the block bounded by The Commons, Green Street, and Aurora and Cayuga streets. The limit now is 85 feet.
This is the block where the retail, office and apartment complex called Harold’s Square is proposed. It would be, perhaps, the largest unit added to The Commons since Center Ithaca, with the adjoining Rothschild Building, was built in the early 1980s.
Green Street is getting the tallest limits because it already has relatively tall buildings for Ithaca, with the Tompkins County Mental Health building, and Cayuga Place condominiums and retail building, according to city Director of Planning and Development JoAnn Cornish.
A 120-foot limit would be established in the block across Aurora Street from The Commons. Its current limit is 60 feet.
Together, these two districts would place some of downtown’s tallest buildings just south and east of the pedestrian mall, which is undergoing reconstruction over the next two building seasons. The Hilton Garden Inn, at Tioga and Senecastreets, is about 120 feet tall.
More height changes
A 100-foot zone would be established along Seneca Way between East State/MLK Jr. Street. The block is bounded by Aurora Street on the west. The limit there now is also 60 feet.
Another new limit would be a 60-foot district on the blocks bounded by Green and Seneca streets between Albany and Meadow streets, though buildings immediately fronting Seneca, Green and Meadow would remain in a zone with a 40-foot height limit.
Along State/MLK Street, the limit would be 60 feet.
That corridor, a mostly commercial strip between The Commons and Route 13, has had some positive development recently, but underutilized sites remain, Murtagh said.
The working group that developed the plan had to balance stimulating density with concerns that increased heights could make downtown land so valuable that there would be an incentive to tear down buildings of historic interest. The area from Albany to Meadow streets was of particular interest.
“There’s a lot of open space. I think there are a lot of opportunities for infill,” Murtagh said. “It’s not a huge change, but our hope is it’s enough of a change that it would maybe incentivize a little bit of development down there while also protecting our historic resources.”
A 60-foot limit would be set on portions of the blocks bounded by Seneca, Green, Albany and Geneva streets, with an 85-foot district along Green between Geneva and Cayuga streets.
A 50-foot district would be created on the northeast corner of Court and Cayuga streets, where the former Tompkins County Public Library is, and on the southeast corner of Buffalo and Tioga streets. The county is considering selling the building for possible housing development.
In the downtown business district zones, buildings could cover an entire lot instead of 85 percent, which is the current limit. This reflects the increase in downtown land values and expenses.
Other density-promoting steps the city has taken include revising its tax-abatement program for easier use, and drafting a zoning revision to guide and stimulate Collegetown density.
The goal is to focus density where appropriate and not in residential neighborhoods and historic districts, including the newly designated Henry St. John District between Green Street and Titus Avenue, Mayor Svante Myrick said.
“It’s been clear we want reinvestment and we want more housing, but we didn’t want it to come at the expense of the beautiful and historic residential neighborhoods that so many of us cherish,” he said. “What I actually like about this package is that it focuses density where it’s appropriate, and it spares those residential neighborhoods, including the Henry St. John historic district.”
Here's the link:
Not the best map, but it's all I've got right now:
, on Flickr