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By: Timothy W. Scee II, Specialized to Newzjunky.com | 11/9/2010
WATERTOWN, N.Y. — Discussions of a new housing development are underway as Watertown City Council members and Neighbors of Watertown Executive Director Gary C. Beasley collectively outlined Monday the costs and benefits of such a decision.
“I whole-heartedly support it,” Councilman Jeffrey M. Smith said, welcoming the idea of a 19-home, single-family residential development, built by Neighbors of Watertown, in a vacant lot between California Avenue and North Pleasant Street.
He continued, “It’s a development that’s going to enhance our city, it’s going to enhance this neighborhood, it’s going to add more housing to the neighborhood. Those are the activities we should be doing as a city.”
The location of proposed development, which once housed Ogilvie Foods, is filled with “shock rock,” according to Mrs. Beasley, and would have to be cleared by the city for the new road, water and sewage lines to be both constructed and installed.
“It was a former industrial site, they leveled it, and all the foundation is still there,” Beasley said. “It’s got to be scraped back up and cleared and have top soil put in.”
City Manager Mary M. Corriveau said it would cost approximately $10,000 for the city’s department of public works to haul them to a quarry, however, other alternatives were mentioned.
“If we’ve got someone else that’s willing to take it, if they haul it, then they can,” Corriveau said. “Or, we’ll let it go to the dump up the road by my house.”
City staff said they will determine if any state grants would be available to help cover the costs of hauling away the rocks for site preparation.
Another pitfall in cleanup and development, city staff said, would be the cost alone for preparing the nearly 4-acre site for 19, 5,000-7,000 square-foot lots, as well as a new street.
“Just a rough estimate, this is about 620 feet of street,” City Planning and Development Coordinator Kenneth A. Mix said. “Along with all the utilities, roughly can run about $900,000 at land and $45,000 per house.”
Beasley said his organization would fully fund the construction of the homes, currently being “looked at” by different contractors, which could bring in about $3.5-4 million in taxable assessed values, according to Mayor Jeffrey E. Graham.
Before construction, zoning for the vacant lot would also need changed from its current light industrial to residence C.
Each of the homes, Beasley said, would be built “in the same style” as the 1,600 square-foot home Neighbors of Watertown which, after four months, was recently completed at 122 Ten Eyck St- only with subtle changes.
“We plan on building basically that same house,” he said. “The design that we put over there is actually intended to be a little smaller.”
The Neighbors of Watertown executive director said his organization added an extra four feet on to the Ten Eyck Street house, built a taller cellar, raised the porch and installed two full bathrooms.
“It’s a real nice house to fit in with an older neighborhood, which is what we were looking for,” Beasley said.
Should city council move to officially support the proposed Neighbors of Watertown development, Beasley said it would most likely take years to complete.
“Are you thinking doing two or three years,” Councilman Joseph M. Butler asked.
“I think to do it, you know, two or three years you’re stretching it way out and you lose some of the funding that is available,” Beasley said.
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