Ithaca Builds

Mapping, photos and information for Ithaca construction and development projects

Amabel Zoning Resolution & Revised Site Plan

March 6, 2014 // by Jason Henderson

The Town Board of Ithaca will be deciding on a resolution at their meeting Monday, the 10th to recommend re-zoning for the parcels of New Earth Living‘s proposed Amabel project from Low Density Residential to Medium Density Residential, in order to allow for 31 housing units on the two parcels, 619 Five Mile Drive, and a 3-acre sub-parcel of 617 Five Mile Drive, which was divested by the City of Ithaca back in December.

The project has a revised site plan, showing that most of the 3-acre sub-parcel that was purchased will be kept as a natural area. Most noticeable is the change in the type of development: the previous plans called for rental or condominium shared housing units in five clusters of six or seven households, whereas the revised plans are for a lot subdivision, much like Belle Sherman Cottages, where the common utilities, roadways, and sitework are developed, then individual lots are developed and built as they are sold. This plan shows two pockets of eight lots each, and an L-shaped line of 15 lots on the southern and western borders, with two sections of parking and a shared roadway heading south off Inlet Road, then east.

The project letter states that the change resulted from consultation with their attorney and numerous bankers, and the financial implications of the previous plans could not be supported by the project, which is understandable: building-out the shared housing units, even in phases, would imply the development entity to hold construction debt obligations that may not have been sustainable, given that quick absorption of the housing units providing adequate revenue is not a sure bet (Belle Sherman Cottages, although a lot development, is a good example- it will eventually fill, but it takes time). In addition, shared housing implies an HOA-arrangement (Homeowner’s Association), a legal entity that shared owners pay into in order to maintain the grounds, common areas, etc.- which is commonly cost-shared with the development entity until a certain absorption percentage is achieved. For condominiums, the legal arrangements are even more complicated and costly, although it’s a novel development concept that has become a norm in urban areas, where strong pre-sales can be guaranteed.

Here’s the full resolution with attachments



Amabel Project’s City of Ithaca Parcel Divestment

December 2, 2013 // by Jason Henderson

Members at Wednesday’s Common Council Meeting will be discussing and voting on the divestment by sealed bid of a 3-acre subparcel of 617 Five Mile Drive, the 25-acre City-owned parcel that makes up a portion of the proposed “Amabel” project by Sue Cosentini and Rob Morache of New Earth Living. 22 acres sit on the east side of the railroad tracks, with 3 acres on the west (see map and resolution below).

The plan is to build five small pocket neighborhoods (in a similar vein to their recent Aurora Street Pocket Neighborhood project), consisting of 6-7 small homes per each pocket. The homes will share a common house, food gardens, bike and canoe sheds, and incorporate superior insulation, solar power, rainwater harvesting, and other green features.


Common Council Agenda Item for Wednesday, December 4th:

Amabel Proposed Site Photos

July 15, 2013 // by Jason Henderson

Amabel’s proposed site currently contains a house, detached garage, a barn, and a row and clusters of trees in a flat, grassy field. The site ends a few hundred feet before the rail tracks on the east, nearby the dam on Cayuga Inlet off Inlet Rd.

New Earth Living on Five Mile Drive

June 17, 2013 // by Jason Henderson

The New Earth Living website has posted information on their upcoming project on 619 Five Mile Drive called “Amabel,” a proposed new series of pocket neighborhoods that would be much larger than the recently completed Aurora Pocket Neighborhood. In this preliminary design, five neighborhoods consisting of six or seven households share a common house, gardens, and shed/garage space. Planned technologies include strong insulation, solar power, and rainwater harvesting, much like the Aurora Pocket Neighborhood employs. Ithacating’s Article observantly notes that although this area has seen many single-family homes built recently, there’s nothing quite like this proposal.

The site is about a mile from downtown Ithaca (as the crow flies), so residents could travel down Floral Ave (13A), cross the bridge, and they’d be on the West side. The walking route down Floral Ave then to the Commons is about two miles. The surroundings are suburban; Calvary Cemetery is across the street, and just down the road is the bottom of Bostwick Rd, which has the Ithaca City School District Bus Garage and the Tompkins County Highway Department & Facilities Division.