Ithaca College was unanimously granted final site plan approval for the expansion of the Circle Apartments by the Town of Ithaca Planning Board on Jan. 18. Before building permits are issued, the planning board attached certain conditions to the approval that the college must meet.
The expansion plan includes tearing down two-person apartments and rebuilding them to create a total of 136 new beds for the complex. New parking spaces, walkways, a small storage building and an addition to the community building are also part of the plan. Conditions set by the town that must be met before construction can begin include a revisal of the landscaping plan and updates on water management of the property.
Richard Couture, associate vice president of the office of facilities, said the college hopes to meet the conditions by March when they resubmit revised plans so construction can begin as soon as weather permits in the spring.
“We need to add a little bit more to the landscaping plan to block off some of the vision between the property owners on Danby Road and the college Circle Apartment property,” Couture said.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers declared the wetlands present on the apartment property could not be disturbed, which caused a delay in the expansion. Carl Sgrecci, vice president of finance and administration, said the college decided to leave the wetlands alone and focus on constructing on the Danby Road side of the project.
“The wetland issue got resolved when we cut back the number of beds,” Sgrecci said. “We, in essence, are not disturbing wetlands of any significance, so we ended up being able to modify the footprint that we were dealing with so it did not impact the wetlands.”
Michael Smith, environmental planner for the Town of Ithaca, said the other conditions set by the town are typical for any building plans, such as updating its storm water management plan, providing information regarding its wetland integration and presenting a revised easement for the sewer infrastructure.
“Once the waterlines are completed, they’ll be turned over to the town,” Smith said. “They just need to have easements so that the town can maintain or access them.”
Construction is planned from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday this spring. Some attendees at the Jan. 18 meeting were concerned about disturbing residents during that time frame. Couture said the college hopes construction will not cause a disturbance, but there’s no guarantee.
“We hope to do the construction in such a way that it provides the least amount of inconvenience to our students,” Couture said.