Sept 6 Public Hearing about proposed new law – alternates for Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals

Come to this Wednesday’s Village Board meeting for a public hearing about a new law, for alternates to the Planning Board and Zoning Board. Sept 6, 7pm, Village Hall.

From the Village website:

September 6th, 2017

PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that the Trumansburg Village Board of Trustees will hold a Public Hearing at 7:00 pm, September 6th, 2014 at the Regular Board Meeting in the Main Meeting Room of the Trumansburg Village Hall located at 56 E. Main Street, Trumansburg, New York.


The purpose of this Local Law is to amend the Laws of the Village of Trumansburg and General Regulations thereunder, and specifically to provide for the appointment of alternate members to the (i) Village of Trumansburg Planning Board, and (ii) Village of Trumansburg Zoning Board of Appeals.

See the rest of the law here:

If you’re on NextDoor, there’s some informal discussion among neighbors there:

And my letter to the editor about this here:

Hamilton Square by the numbers and dates

By Nancy Tubbs

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

Dear Editor and Trumansburg residents,

The developers for 46 South Street, Hamilton Square, are expected to submit a formal application by Thursday, August 10, and present their plans formally to the Planning Board at the August 24 meeting. We hope we’ll be able to see the plans shortly after August 10, but we don’t yet know if, when and how they’ll be available. This application initiates the formal process of review by the Planning Board, who will work with the developers to set a timeline for the various steps of the review process.

The land for Hamilton Square is 19 acres, including 2 entrances (South St. across from the Historical Society and Pennsylvania Ave, after the second house from Halsey St.). The latest plans shown include 47 affordable (subsidized and income-restricted) rentals, 11 affordable for-sale townhouses, 8 lots for market-rate housing (assumed to be 15 units), a nursery school, and a community building. The total number of housing units is assumed to be 73.

Property Tax: The rentals’ estimated assessment is $17,554 each, for a total of $825,000. For example, if the tax rate goes up 2 points, taxes for an average $200,000 house will increase $400, while a rental’s will increase $35.

Seniors: One option for seniors aging in place is to pursue one of the 15 one-bedroom, single story rentals planned, if their income qualifies. There will likely be a lottery for the apartments, and they aren’t reserved for seniors. The other option for seniors is to buy a lot and build a house, as the affordable for-sale units will be reserved for first-time homebuyers.

Rents: Projected rents range from $549-850 for a one-bedroom, $737-1050 for a 2-bedroom, and $900-1250 for a three bedroom. Trumansburg’s current estimated median rent is $859.

Road: The project includes a new village road and associated infrastructure (water, sewer, power, etc), which will be built by the developers and deeded to the Village.

The Village Planning Board will probably be spending the next several months reviewing the plan and its supporting material. The Planning Board usually meets the fourth Thursday of the month, at 7pm, at the Village Hall’s meeting room, in the back of the building (parking lot on Elm Street). Residents are welcome to attend, and the Board has a history of allowing the public 3-minute speaking opportunities.

As a fellow resident, I urge you to follow the planning process, and in particular, attend the Public Hearing sessions that are a required part of the review.

Upcoming dates:

Thursday, August 17, 7pm, Trumansburg Conservatory: the developers, INHS and Claudia Brenner, will hold another community meeting, with a focus on traffic.

Saturday, August 19, 11am-1pm, INHS (Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services) welcomes Trumansburg residents to tour their 2 latest townhouses in Ithaca, 206 and 208 Hancock Street.

Thursday, August 24, 7pm, Trumansburg Planning Board meeting, where the developers will present a revised subdivision sketch plan to the Planning Board.

Here are some sources of more information:

Village website at

Developers’ project website at

Informal community networking site:

Informal related blog: (I run this as an unpaid hobby)

If you have questions or concerns about the development, now is the time to communicate them to the Village Planning Board. Besides meetings, they can be reached by email at link, by mail at 56 East Main Street, or by dropping off a letter at the Village Hall.

Nancy Tubbs
Tamarack Lane​

Letter to Ms. Brenner from Edward Errigo

By Edward Errigo

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

Ms. Brenner:

As you may be aware, I am the power of attorney for the 209 Pennsylvania Avenue residence (owned by my almost 99 year old aunt) and an opponent of the original Hamilton Square housing project plan.

I attended the Thursday meeting at The Conservatory regarding the proposed Hamilton Square housing project. While, I see some positive revisions since the original proposals, I remain opposed to the overall size and design of the project. In talking with approximately 100 of my Pennsylvania Avenue, Larchmont Drive, Tamarack Lane, South Street, and Whig Street neighbors the following concerns have been raised:

  1. 47 rental units is too large of a public housing footprint for Trumansburg, especially in a high value neighborhood. Residents are concerned about public safety, especially with the documented drug addict problems, resident-to-resident confrontations, and auto break-ins at The Overlook (across from the hospital). Many residents believe that INHS will “import” residents from far beyond Tompkins County, a concern that INHS did not help allay by boasting in a recent fundraising letter of expanding services to applicants outside the county boundary. Residents believe “outsiders” may not accept Trumansburg community values or abide by village laws. Residents are also concerned that a large public housing footprint will diminish the property value of their established homes. Our current village police (no overnight patrol) and EMS services are not adequate to handle such an influx, and INHS officials did not answer the question raised at the meeting of whether they are prepared to fund additional village service needs. Clearly, 70% tax abated rental units will not meet the service needs of the proposed development. Trumansburg village and school taxes are already high; taxpayers don’t support adding to the current burden.
  2. Residents believe that 47 rentals, the proposed starter homes, and the proposed relocation of the nursery school to Hamilton Square will inundate South Street with constant traffic. With many homes close to the current pavement, widening South Street or adding a large sidewalk is not a desirable option to many affected residents. Adding a sidewalk to Pennsylvania Avenue, as was mentioned at the meeting, seems out of the question given the current drainage problems. It would require extreme expense since the first 150 feet connecting into Elm Street has the only available drainage ditches (completely full during heavy rain) on both sides of the current pavement.
  3. Residents believe that for the new development to blend with the current single family home environment surrounding the proposed development, that you should consider offering more lots (in addition to your current market sale lots) for contractor development in a style similar to Tamarack or Larchmont. One resident with some building knowledge suggested working these additional lots around the periphery of your land track, especially on the high ground facing town, and the dry areas facing Pennsylvania and bordering existing Tamarack homes. These full tax properties would contribute to the Trumansburg tax base and help pay for the additional village services that the rest of the development may require.

Not all existing resident comment is negative. Trumansburg residents are in favor of:

  1. Providing affordable housing for elderly residents, 62 and older.
  2. Providing young families with an opportunity to invest in our community through the purchase of a “starter home” or townhouse.

Here is my suggested plan to alleviate the negative concerns and incorporate the aspects that residents regard as favorable:

  1. Build and allocate 14-16 of the rental units to permanent 62+ elderly housing, similar to Juniper Manor II apartments.
  2. Reduce the unrestricted rental units to 18-20 units.
  3. Build 12 units of affordable for sale townhouses or small single homes. Blend some of the for sale townhouses into the central core of rentals. (Filling lot space around the green space that would have been occupied by the original 47 rentals)
  4. Offer at least 12 single family home lots on the site periphery to private contractors, or individuals seeking to build a custom single family residence.
  5. Rescind the offer to house the nursery school onsite; construct a smaller community center building.


  1. Building 14-16 permanently designated 62+ elderly housing units onsite would help to alleviate Trumansburg’s acute need for elderly housing and help meet INHS’s minimum 40 unit requirement. With aging baby boomers seeking smaller dwellings, the need for Trumansburg elderly housing will likely continue for the next twenty years.
  2. A smaller footprint of 18-20 unrestricted rental units will reduce public safety concerns and reduce the potential need for additional village police, EMS, snow removal personnel and vehicles. Why 18-20? When I asked surrounding residents what is the largest number of public housing rental units they would feel safe living next to, the highest number suggested was 20. (response ranged from 8-20, with most residents in the 10-16 range) Additionally, the smaller footprint would reduce traffic concerns on South Street and reduce site drainage concerns (smaller parking lot, less runoff).
  3. Building 12 units of subsidized for sale townhomes or small single family homes meets the need to provide affordable housing to young families seeking to live in Trumansburg. The 12 units would also help meet the 40 units of subsidized housing required by INHS (when combined with rentals 1&2).
  4. Offering at least 12 single family home lots for Tamarack style development would potentially add an estimated $4-4.5 million in unabated Trumansburg village tax assessment. The additional revenues could be used to fund the above mentioned services required by the Hamilton Square housing site. Occupying the periphery of your tract would create a buffer between existing homes and the proposed rental units.
  5. Rescinding the offer to house the nursery school on-site would have three benefits:
  1. Eliminate South Street traffic flow to Hamilton Square, especially during the busy morning school bus traffic time.
  2. Keep a funding source for the Presbyterian Church in these difficult times of declining members.
  3. Construct a smaller community center, saving INHS project costs.

I understand INHS will not favor the reduction in rental units; for them additional housing units equal dollars. Perhaps, the current plan can be jammed through a divided Planning Board and 75/25 village resident opposition (80/20 opposition on the affected West side of the village), but it would seem a smarter course of action is to develop a plan that has the backing of the majority of village residents and provides Trumansburg with a self-sustaining tax revenue stream for delivery of Hamilton Square services. I am certain that you would get assistance from Trumansburg community members connected to Cornell, Ithaca College, Cayuga Medical, or Ithaca law offices in marketing for sale lots to families locating to our area, if there was positive sentiment regarding the Hamilton Square project. It all depends on the legacy that you wish to leave: as the developer that worked with existing homeowners to better the future of our community or the developer who ruined the Trumansburg way of life. As a fellow Virginia Tech alumnus, I urge you to consider the former.


Edward A. Errigo