Batavia aldermen question drainage, energy for Campana apartment proposal
Batavia aldermen asked questions Tuesday about stormwater drainage, energy efficiency and developer financing, as they began their review of the proposal to put apartments in the historic Campana factory building.
Evergreen Real Estate Group wants to put in 80 apartments. At least 64 would be set aside for government-subsidized housing, as the construction would be financed in part with $12 million worth of Low-Income Housing Tax Credits.
Aldermen have to decide whether to approve several zoning amendments requested by the developer. The property is already zoned to allow housing.
Some questioned why they are being asked to consider this, when the plan doesn't show what will be done with stormwater runoff when a parking lot and sidewalks are added. That doesn't have to be addressed at this point in the process, according to the city's planning and zoning officer.
Alderman Marty Callahan said the council is charged with determining whether the building is livable, and he wonders if that will be true if residents have to pay high utility bills to heat and cool their units, or if amenities such as a toddler playground and a soccer field are later removed for more parking.
"It is incumbent on us to speak for those residents who, by their nature, might not be able to say 'no' to this," for fear of being bumped to the bottom of the list, Callahan said. He was referring to people who are on waiting lists for subsidized housing,
The developer acknowledged the building won't be as energy-efficient as new construction, particular with its glass-block windows and two-story loft units.
If more parking is required, the tot lot could be moved to another space, and part of the front lawn could be striped for a rudimentary soccer field, according to David Block, Evergreen's director of development.
Guy Prisco, a resident of The Holmstad retirement community across Fabyan Parkway, presented a petition residents signed, opposing the plan. They believe it will be substandard housing, and that will result in high turnover of residents, which will result in higher crime rates, he said.
Several residents who spoke disagreed with the developer and city staff's contention that certain requirements of the county's stormwater law don't apply to the project yet.
And Guy Prisco, a resident of The Holmstad retirement community across Fabyan Parkway, presented a petition residents signed, opposing the plan. They believe it will be substandard housing, and that will result in high turnover of residents, which will result in higher crime rates.