Major Development on the Horizon!

This is the flyer handed out in Trumansburg yesterday.  If you’d like more, email me at and I’ll get you more.

There is one date change (already!).  The developers were planning to submit a plan on July 13 and present it officially at the Village Planning Board meeting in July.  The developer has moved this to August.  There is still a Planning Board meeting in July, just not an official presentation from the developers.

There will still be a public community meeting July 13, where the developer will present their latest plans!!  Now the developer can incorporate feedback from this community meeting, as well as another round of Listening Sessions later in July, into their plans.  The community meeting is Thursday, July 13, 7-9pm, at the Conservatory (corner of Congress and McLallen Streets).

Links to pdf files for printing:

HS Development Info Flyer

Questions+Choices Flyer

flyer 1

flyer 2

flyer 3

Email from developers, 7/7/17

Below is an email from INHS (Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services) this afternoon.


– Their submission (to the Planning Board) date is pushed back to August, from July, so they can hear input at the July 13 Community meeting (next Thurs, 7-9pm, at the Conservatory on Congress & McLallen, all invited).

– Another set of listening sessions in late July, dates tbd

– A 7-page FAQ (questions and answers) on their webpage here:  Scroll to the bottom and click the red and white square that says PDF.
At our listening sessions last week, several of you commented that the process seemed to be moving fast, with too little community input. We hear your concern, and have decided to push back our submission to the Planning Board until August. This gives us time to absorb what we hear at the July 13th community meeting, and hold another set of listening sessions in late July. We also promised to share the top themes from the listening sessions; those are listed below. For those who were unable to attend or who need clarification, we have compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions which can now be found on our website. Thanks to all those who sent us some excellent questions to respond to. We hope you can join us for next week’s community meeting, which is 7:00-9:00 p.m. at the Trumansburg Conservatory. The presentation will begin at 7:00, followed by a Q & A.

Listening Session Themes

  • Taxes: Residents asked general questions about how INHS rental properties are taxed and others wanted to know specific tax details for INHS’s Community Land Trust.
  • Density: Some residents felt that Hamilton Square would be too urban and that it would alter the character of the village. Those residents stated a preference for more for-sale homes with a decrease in rentals. Others were excited about the number of new housing opportunities.
  • Seniors: Many residents highlighted the housing needs of seniors who want to age in community, particularly those who are not low income.
  • Traffic: Residents in the immediate vicinity of the project thought it would increase the level of traffic within the village and suggested INHS look into traffic calming solutions.
  • Drainage: Residents whose properties are adjacent to the site had concerns about drainage and water leaving the site.

Also, we have a new FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) on our website that should answer many questions as well. We’ll be updating this as needed.

Developers holding community meeting Thursday, July 13 – save the date!

On Thursday, July 13, the developers (Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services and Claudia Brenner) are holding another community meeting.

Thursday July 13
7pm presentation, 7:30-9pm, open house format
Trumansburg Conservatory, 5 McLallen Street

Our current understanding is that the developers will also be making a formal submission to the Planning Board on this day, so I hope and expect they’ll be showing the site plan they are submitting.

The meeting also includes traffic and environmental study results, information for potential renters and buyers, and more.

More information here:

See you there!
Nancy Tubbs


Sign up now for listening sessions with INHS next week!

This just came out from INHS’s mailing list:

We would like to invite Trumansburg residents to participate in small group listening sessions, where you will have the opportunity to share your concerns and comments with us and ask questions about the proposed Hamilton Square development. You can sign up for a 30 minute session; each session will accommodate up to four people.

The sessions will be held at the Village Hall June 28 and 29, Wed 3-7:30pm, Thur 1-4:30pm.

If you can’t make these times because of work or other conflicts, I encourage you to contact Alena Fast, a real estate developer with INHS, at

Sign up:

Message from INHS regarding proposed development

INHS has an mail list about the 46 South St Project, tentatively named Hamilton Square. This just came out (I put the bold type in, not they):

Some of you may have heard that INHS would present another informal concept to the planning board at the June 15th meeting. We have decided not to attend that meeting, as we are still in the process of revising our site plan based on all the input we’ve heard. We are still on track for a formal submission to the planning board in time for their July meeting.

We also plan to hold a second community meeting on Thursday, July 13, site TBD.

Also, please visit our new website about the project. We’ll be updating this as the project progresses and will include more photos, plans, and community feedback very soon.

You can sign up for the email list on that website.

Nancy Tubbs

A few thoughts on the Hamilton Square project

By Barry Strom

This is an opinion/letter. If you’re interested in posting one, email it to

I am writing in an attempt to bring an often unheard point of view to the discussion about the proposed Hamilton Square and similar projects: that of the intended beneficiaries — lower income individuals. I am not writing to express my personal opinion on how the proposed development will affect the village of Trumansburg. But if the goal of the Hamilton Square housing is to benefit those in need in our village and county, it is important that we ask some serious questions about how this housing will serve and meet their various needs before proceeding with the project.

I should preface with this: I am not a lower income individual and as such my personal experiences with housing are very different from those that would benefit from this housing. However, I spent 36 years of my life as a Clinical Professor at Cornell Law School and during that entire time my students and I represented low-income people in and around Tompkins County. While this gives me a bit of insight, I will be the first to admit it does not substitute for the real life experience of being poor and living from small paycheck or even smaller welfare check to the next, hoping not to run short before some additional money is available.

As you might guess from the above, I am generally in favor of affordable housing as most if not all low income people are. From my experience, however, lower income individuals want
good affordable housing, that is, housing that meets their needs. In addition to rental cost, these needs include: access to public transportation, access to basic services (grocery store and pharmacy), access to employment, and homes that make them feel as though they are part of a larger community and not simple placed in it.

Beyond the physical housing itself, the question of transportation must be addressed. Many low income people have no car or have a car that is unreliable and do not have the resources to repair the unreliable vehicle when it breaks down. This makes access to public transportation critical. At present, TCAT services to Trumansburg are limited to a few buses in the morning and a few in the evening, with only one bus during the day and no service after 7 PM. Low income people often have jobs that are not at regular 9-5 hours and have little flexibility in those hours. Additionally, many low income people have disabilities (even if they don’t meet the strict standards to get disability benefits). This means they often have mobility issues as well. Furthermore, even for those without mobility issues walking from the proposed site to Main Street can be a difficulty, especially in the winter. Do we know that TCAT will expand the services hours of the Trumansburg bus line and extend the route to include the new project in order to accommodate the needs of the new residents?

How about grocery shopping or going to the drug store?  It is a very long walk from the proposed site to Sure Save or Kinney Drugs, especially with bags of groceries.  How will residents get there? Take the bus? Remember we are talking about people with limited income and a bus with limited service. Will INHS provide a shuttle?

There is a long history of building affordable housing in urban areas. Much of that housing, while well-intentioned, has been unsuccessful. After learning from these mistakes, there has have been many successful affordable housing projects in urban settings. I don’t know enough, however, about the history of placing affordable housing in a small village 10 miles from the major employment center: my sense is the history is short.

INHS got its start by subsidizing low income people who wanted to rehabilitate single family homes for their own use. This led to high-quality affordable housing in which people had a strong emotional investment. Because these were single-family homes, density was not an issue. However this approach produced fairly limited numbers of housing units. There is an inevitable tradeoff in providing benefits to low income people where you have limited resources to draw from. You can provide better benefits to fewer people or lesser benefits to more people. In the affordable housing context once you set the rental parameters, the quality of the housing and the density (how many units and residents you fit in a given acreage) are the variable factors.

In the Trumansburg context, there is another element that links to the density question. If you live in an area that is densely populated with a lot of apartments, your affordable apartment, even if a bit smaller and of a bit lesser quality, does not make you feel like an outsider and your children do not feel they are very different. On the other hand, if you are isolated in apartments which are packed together in a separate enclave surrounded by mostly single-family homes, you feel separated from your community and your children feel some stigma. Housing which separates you from your community is not good housing, even if the physical quality is good.

Many years ago I was representing someone at the Seneca County Department of Social Services which was then housed in a farmhouse about 4 miles out of Waterloo. I asked the assistant commissioner: how do people who need assistance get out here? I was told that if they really needed it they could get out there. I have little doubt that people who need affordable housing will manage to get out here. I think we have a responsibility to make sure what they get is truly worth the trip. At that point, we all benefit. I urge folks who want affordable housing in Trumansburg to make sure the housing is good affordable housing even if that means reducing the number of units. The housing should meet the concerns addressed above and those that from my more privileged perspective I cannot readily identify.

Barry Strom
Clinical Professor
And Attorney at Law (Retired)
29 South St. Trumansburg, NY 14886