By Matt Fossen
A recent Common Council vote in Ithaca has created a new zoning ordinance for Collegetown while conceding that affordability issues will require longer term planning and policies.
With a strong consensus, the council’s new ordinance maintains the current zoning codes for the area but also creates Collegetown form area districts with their own codes. The changes are largely meant to ensure that Ithaca’s zoning regulations comply more fully with its 2009 Collegetown Urban Plan and Conceptual Design Guidelines.
The ordinance ultimately looks to create more land lots for apartments that would help make the area denser as well as offer accessible and appealing housing for Cornell University upperclassmen. Discussions have surfaced leaving many riven between the possibility of threatening and invading the outer rim neighborhoods and the need to renovate the center of Collegetown.
The new codes add regulations to roof pitches, front side property and porches, glazing, exterior and street structure size, as well as parking rules. Collegetown poses a unique challenge to designing zoning ordinances, featuring the city’s most expensive property as well as a conspicuous amount of outdated buildings that have been criticized for being too unsafe and energy inefficient for apartment leasing.