Cazenovia village board examines viability of Riverside Drive project

The fate of development on Riverside Drive in downtown Cazenovia remains unclear.

At Monday's village board meeting, the proposal to construct senior housing and a medical center behind the Cazenovia Public Library by developers Ed Green and Scott Shannon. Their presentation was met with opposition from some local business owners and uncertainty from village citizens.

Green explained the advantages of proceeding with construction.

"First of all, parking for the library will increase. We will wind up with a park. We will wind up with St. Joseph's, a major center, and have a strong street presence," he said. "There is also going to be some chance for more profit for the village, regarding two sites that are going to come out of this project that can be resold to a third party"

Green and Shannon may have found interested partners, the non-profit management company, Christopher Community. The organization is currently constructing senior housing facilities in DeWitt.

Green and Shannon's plans for the Riverside Drive development include 24 apartments and a medical center on the vacant lot behind the Cazenovia Public Library, accessible from Riverside Drive. After three revisions, the most recent plans call for a single two-story structure. The hospital will occupy the first floor and housing units will be located on the second.

The proposal was initially rejected by the village because the subsidized housing would be exempt from taxation. The board was willing to take a second look at the plan because of the Christopher Community's ability to generate additional revenue, and obtain federal funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Green explained that he is currently pursuing a PILOT agreement between Christopher Community and Cazenovia. The senior housing will be tax exempt, but the village would receive payment in lieu of taxes. Even though they would be physically connected, the first floor medical complex would be considered a separate entity from the housing. The medial center will not be exempt from taxes, and could generate some tax revenue for the village.

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