Fix Hancock St. Project
This site is supported by some close neighbors to the 210 Hancock St. site, which Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services has proposed to develop. We are thankful for the work INHS has done in Ithaca and are glad they are working on this site. But we feel they have overreached in their plan in several ways.
More deeply, we feel the ideology of high-density urban living does not belong in our low-rise traditional neighborhood. We are not against change, but it should be a moderate evolution, not a stark construction of 54 units in a four-story building.
Ithaca Journal article slanted
The article in the Ithaca Journal on June 25 is substantially slanted in favor of the Hancock St. project. Here is Dick Feldman's response to the author:
I see you switched photos of the Hancock project from the IJ article
that is online. Was that just by chance or does INHS prefer the one with
all the non-existent trees and extremely broad avenues?
I found your article fairly slanted in favor of the project, ignoring
many of the issues we have raised. Did they really create more green
space as a result of the meetings? How could they have less than the
current project? Did you not notice that the parking study was not done
during alternate-side season? What about the pile driving down 90 feet
that many people spoke about at the meeting?
Also quite a few spoke about the lack of transparency at the community
meetings. You make it sound like everyone knew what the project was, had
their say, and INHS accommodated their ideas. This is not the case.
They never said how many rental units there would be. The only way to
have really more green space is to have fewer units; for example by
building duplexes like other low-income housing in Northside. You also
mention the substantial controversy that arose at the meeting about the
density recommendations of the comprehensive plan - the plan specifies
the density of the Hancock project.
An interesting aspect to look into would be when they will build the
townhouses and whether they are really committed to building them at
all. The big rental building they say they will build in one year, but
the whole project they say may take four years. And they have waffled
about the townhouses. Except for the townhouses there is no green space
I'm curious about the median income being almost half the county average
($29K/$50K according to you article). Where do those figures come from? If
true, then many low-income people are living in the city now; why do we
need more low-income housing then? Your rent/income figure - 34% -
assumes that everyone lives alone. Do you think that's true? Or is that
per person and you are saying that a family of four is paying $3,264 (four times $816)?
Did you read any of our material? You didn't mention that we have paper
petitions with more than 120 signatures, as I said at the meeting, in addition to the online petition.
know the Journal has to support the power centers in the city, who are
all in favor of big boxes in Northside, but I was looking for more
complete coverage. I think your readers were left puzzled at why so
many people came to the meeting. We look to you for reflection and
explanation, not whitewashing.
Parking and High-Density Concept
Here from the Fall Creek listserve is a response to Daniel Keogh, an urban planning student:
Daniel Keogh seems to suggest that parking spaces
will bring more cars. If people have and need a car they will park it
somewhere, regardless of whether spots were built to accompany their new
housing. If their apartment has been built without enough parking, then
they'll park in nearby spots, in front of other people's houses, as
will their visitors, merchants and customers coming to the project
site. The parking study showing available spots was done by INHS not in
alternate-side parking season, when overnight parking is reduced by
half. Ask people who live in the neighborhood, instead of doing a
The planners' ideology is that everyone
would be better people if they didn't have cars. They would walk more,
not be obese and support public transportation. They would "live, shop,
work and play" within a quarter mile, a politically correct nirvana.
How does that really work in this neighborhood half a mile from
downtown, where there is no basic shopping anyway? How do you buy your
groceries in the winter in Ithaca, especially if you have a family?
The high-density urban design works in real cities with services, transport and nearby employment. That is not Northside.
is a debate going on about the suitability of the high density concept
to Ithaca - it's at the bottom of the Old Library discussion also. The
Ithaca Journal and Ithaca Voice seem to want to ignore the issue. Does
our small-city geographically hemmed-in setting support the concept of
high-density housing for low-income families? In Northside? I think
Let's keep to the density recommendations of the
city's comprehensive plan, which are half of this project. Of course the
block should be developed, but in harmony with its setting.