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.
Shannon also offered positive aspects to developing, noting that the improvements would be beneficial to Cazenovia both financially and aesthetically. The former, and long unused, home of Pepi’s Pizza would be torn down to make an entrance to the facilities.
About two million dollars of funding is still needed to proceed, and the proposal was critiqued by many of the public members in attendance. The board decided to table the discussion after a number of comments and deliberation made it clear that more planning and the consideration of other viable options is still necessary.
The item will be added to the agenda for next month’s Feb. 7 village board meeting.
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