This letter was sent to members of all Village Boards (Trustees, Planning and Zoning Board of Appeals) this past week. It was written by 3 people, signatures received by another, initially circulated by 15-20 people, and signers sent it on to additional people. Truly a group effort.

If you’d like to add your name, just email me at nancy_tubbs@fullcalendar.com or use the contact page.


We, the undersigned, are concerned citizens who care deeply about Trumansburg and its future in the face of development and change. Our most urgent concern is the future of 19 acres of land located at 46 South Street. This is where developers want to build Trumansburg’s newest neighborhood and call it “Hamilton Square.” Yes, the developers, landowner Claudia Brenner and Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services (INHS), have the right and obligation to develop the land in accordance with laws, codes and standards. But we, as a community, have the right and responsibility to make absolutely certain that this land’s best and most careful development happens in a manner that benefits us now and for generations to come.

“Hamilton Square” is the biggest single development of its type to be proposed in Trumansburg’s history. The proposal review process will test the knowledge and capacity of village government and particularly of the planning and zoning boards. If approved, the entire village will feel its impact and especially those who live on South Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. It will increase the village’s population by 17%. Vehicular traffic, lighting and noise will intensify in and around it and water, sewer and stormwater infrastructure will expand to serve it. It will require school, fire, police and emergency services. Its tax revenues will be directed towards the needs and demands it generates.

Picture this: the nearby Tamarack/Larchmont neighborhood is 27 acres and contains 37 single-family homes built over about twenty years. Now, in contrast, picture this: At 19 acres, the Hamilton Square site is about 2/3 the size of Tamarack/Larchmont. More than twice as many housing units, 80 to 90, will be built there over a 1-year timeframe. Just 19% of the homes will be market rate. A larger proportion, 81%, will be affordable housing with most, 50 total, being subsidized rentals and only 15 being for-sale homes. Picture an estimated 200-300 people and space for 172 cars on paved roads, parking lots and driveways. Add to this a rental office and activity center/laundromat, sidewalks and four large stormwater pond structures. And also, don’t forget the daily and weekly flows of buses, garbage trucks, deliveries, and service vehicles. In a snapshot, this is Hamilton Square.

The Brenner/ INHS development team’s “picture” of what’s right for 46 South Street gives us great pause. It just doesn’t look or feel right to us. What we see is too big, too out of place and made for far too many people and cars. It’s too “Ithaca”, too much like the previous developments INHS and Brenner have built and tell us to look at. It’s got too many of the same type of cookie-cutter buildings. All, except one, are attached multi-units and most lack garages and private yards. For affordability there’s far too great a percentage of subsidized rentals on land managed by a single housing company. The only affordable homes for purchase are part of a duplex or triplex. In other words, there are no, we repeat, no affordable single-family houses in Hamilton Square. Too big equates with too much negative impact on the larger surrounding context. Increased traffic and decreased safety on narrow village streets is certain and added danger at intersections will extend all the way up to Main.

It seems to us what the Brenner/INHS developers are picturing is far too finalized, formulaic and “ready to go.” It seems to fit their fast paced intentions and tactics. They often remind us how experienced they are with doing these projects. Their large paid professional team of experts has worked together before and is always there to fill the room. They are confident their “model” of neighborhood development is a good fit for Trumansburg. Why? Because, they argue, it fits Ithaca, Tyre, and Newfield. Confidence in their model makes them quick to defend it and to offer ready justifications when questions and concerns, by the public, are raised. And remarks like “it’s only a concept and we’ll be handling the details later” and “it could be far worse,” frankly do more to unsettle than reassure.

There will be no turning back once 46 South Street gets developed by Brenner and INHS. Its fields, woods and wetlands will be forever replaced by a built landscape that’s here to stay. That’s why we feel that getting to “yes in my backyard” will be neither easy nor fast. That’s why we feel this project requires much greater community dialogue, communication and involvement than has happened to date. That’s why we feel there’s a need for more alternative approaches, ones that better echo the village’s Comprehensive Plan, reflect its quiet, rural character, and are more thoughtfully integrated with the surrounding neighborhood context.

We cannot stand idly by and merely entrust the Brenner/ INHS developers and village officials with determining how 46 South Street will develop. We cannot just take a “wait and see” approach or constrain ourselves by sitting on the sidelines and waiting for chance, when and if provided, to weigh in and explore alternatives. It’s our responsibility now, not later, to actively and fully participate in this precedent-setting project. The neighborhood that will grow up in and around 46 South Street will be determined by the actions we take and the decisions we make together as a community. What happens there will set a standard for future developments of similar scale. We call on our neighbors and community to seize this moment, get involved, and take a proactive role in guiding and directing 46 South Street’s development so we get it right and it fits the Trumansburg we love and cherish!

Signed by,
1. Nancy Tubbs, Tamarack Lane
2. Janice Frossard, South Street
3. Jack Katz, South Street
4. Joan Hogan, Pennsylvania Avenue
5. Bill Hogan, Pennsylvania Avenue
6. Rachel Lowe, Elm Street
7. Brad Lowe, Elm Street
8. Paula Horrigan, Pennsylvania Avenue
9. Scott Sears, Pennsylvania Avenue
10. Elizabeth Meyer, Elm Street
11. Sigred Pauen, South St
12. Bill Connor, South Street
13. Sandy Connor, South Street
14. Joan Garner, South Street
15. Steve Garner, South Street
16. Camille Taranto, Tamarack Lane
17.Marianna Wright, Pennsylvania Avenue
18. Floyd Cole, Pennsylvania Avenue
19. Alice Cole, Pennsylvania Avenue
20. Prof. Dr. Andreas Delfs, South Street
21. Amy Tait Delfs, South Street
22. H. Dorian Delfs, South Street
23. R. Severin Delfs, South Street
24. G. Lydia Delfs, South Street
25. M. Marlene Delfs, South Street
26. Susan Lodinsky, South Street
27. Lynn Trudell, Larchmont Drive
28. Glenn Trudell, Larchmont Drive
29. Richard Stephens, Elm Street
30. Robert Lodinsky, South Street
31. Marilyn Kinner, Pease Street
32. Jeff Frey, South Street
33. Paige Frey, South Street
34. Alicia Grey, Pennsylvania Avenue
35. Michael Kenney, Pennsylvania Avenue
36. David Boyd, Pennsylvania Avenue
37. Jacque Boyd, Pennsylvania Avenue
38. Terri Knebel, Prospect Street
39. Michael Knebel, Prospect Street
40. Rachel Giordano, Pennsylvania Avenue
41. John Colunio, Pennsylvania Avenue
42. Sarah Rushmore, South Street
43. Laurie Cronk, South Street
44. Amanda Nivison, Main Street
45. Stephen Hunt, Larchmont Drive
46. Kimberly Hunt, Larchmont Drive
47. Ronda Ketcham, Tamarack Lane
48. Steve Ketcham, Tamarack Lane
49. Amy Dawson, Larchmont Drive
50. Scott Dawson, Larchmont Drive
51. Diana Bradham, Tamarack Lane
52. Ray Bradham, Tamarack Lane
53. Richard Kinner, Pease Street
54. Mary Kaszyca, Tamarack Lane
55. Anthony N. DeLaurentiis, Pennsylvania Avenue
56. Judy DeLaurentiis, Pennsylvania Avenue
57. Annie Campbell, Cayuga Street
58. Jules Burgevin, Halsey Street
59. Patti Burgevin, Halsey Street
60. Kevin Winder, Tamarack Lane
61. Sue Winder, Tamarack Lane
62. Tom Callaghan, South Street
63. Ellen Strom, South Street
64. Cathie Vellake, South Street
65. Sarah Day, Elm Street
66. Linda Robertson, Pennsylvania Avenue
67. Kelly Masterson, South Street
68. Bill Masteron, South Street
69. Eugene Burpee, South Street
70. Dennis Lynch, Cayuga Street
71. Cathy Lynch, Cayuga Street
72. Tom Prisloe, East Seneca Road
73. Alanna Downey, South Street
74. David Fontanella, South Street
75. Joel Podkaminer, Main Street
76. Deb Pepe, Pennsylvania Avenue
77. Tom Pepe, Pennsylvania Avenue
78. Patty Clark, Pennsylvania Avenue
79. Terry Clark, Pennsylvania Avenue
80. Jody Stackman, Whig Street

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