East Genesee Proposed Development

February 28th, 2019

The University Neighborhood Preservation Association (UNPA) is concerned about the proposal to develop a major residential building on East Genesee Street from Walnut to Pine. We understand both the Board of Zoning Appeals and the Planning Commission will be considering actions to facilitate this project at their next meetings.

UNPA has been working for more than 25 years to encourage homeownership and revitalization in our target neighborhood east of University Hill. We feel this proposed project will have a serious negative impact on our target neighborhood, and other adjacent neighborhoods to this proposed development.

UNPA offers several concerns and suggestions about this proposal:

  1. The negative impact of this project on surrounding residential neighborhoods; particularly those adjacent to the University. Given the size of many of the units (and #of bathrooms per bedroom), it is apparent many of the occupants would be students— and not families looking for affordable housing in this corridor—despite statements in the publicity about this proposal. When this project is added to the number of existing units, this impact would be accelerated.
  2. Given how recent several such developments have been completed nearby, and given that there are approximately 1,900 underutilized housing units in the city (not including Land Bank holdings, or otherwise demolition‐ready properties); UNPA strongly suggests that the city conduct a market analysis for all residential properties in the city, not just those primarily rented to, or developed for, students. UNPA also suggests that a temporary moratorium on such proposed developments be put into place while the market analysis is conducted.
  3. The density of the number of units is very intense given the size of the site.
  4. The proposal indicates 10% of the units will be affordable to persons with income at or below 80% AMI. This percentage does not meet the spirit of what the City of Syracuse desires for a mixed income development. These units should also be some of the larger ones that are more fitting for a non‐transient, family occupancy.
  5. The entrance to the parking garage is off Ashworth Place. What will be the impact of traffic on this small residential side street?

Finally, UNPA, along with other Eastside neighborhood organizations, is concerned that we are not consulted or even advised about these proposals. Developers of such major projects should discuss their proposal with neighborhood residents and organizations before seeking City approval to address concerns and ease the development process for all involved.

(submitted to Department of Zoning, 2/13/19)