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Click here to read the latest Advocacy Alert to support proposed local landmark designation status for Collegetown’s Chacona Block (411-415 College Avenue).

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Chacona Block Local Landmark Designation (Update: October 26, 2017)

The City of Ithaca Planning Board will continue discussions on the proposed designation of the Chacona Block at its November 1st meeting at 6:00 p.m.
Meeting location: Common Council Chambers, City Hall, 108 E. Green Street, Ithaca
Visit the City of Ithaca Planning & Development Board website to see the most recent or upcoming agendas.

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Click here to read Historic Ithaca’s September 19 letter to Common Council supporting local landmark designation for the Larkin Building and Chacona Block.

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Larkin Building Local Landmark Designation (Update: September 12, 2017)
The City of Ithaca Planning and Economic Development Committee will discuss the proposed individual landmark designation of the Larkin Building at its next meeting on Wednesday, September 13th. The link to the committee’s agenda is here: http://www.cityofithaca.org/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/1452?html=true

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Local Landmark Designation Update: Chacona Block and Larkin Building (August 2017)

Throughout the summer, Historic Ithaca advocated for the proposed local landmark designations of the Chacona Block (411-415 College Avenue) and Larkin Buiding (403 College Avenue) in Ithaca’s Collegetown neighborhood. Historic Ithaca and community members spoke in favor of these designations at public meetings of the Ithaca Landmarks Preservation Commission (ILPC) on July 11th and August 8th. We’re happy to report the ILPC voted to recommend both designations to Common Council. Your support is still needed as the designations move through the city process, and we will keep you informed of opportunities to voice your support for the protection of these important historic resources.

Historic Ithaca put together information sheets detailing how each building qualifies for Local Landmark designation:
Chacona Q&A
Larkin Q&A

Click here to view the Narrative Descriptions for each building:
Chacona Block Narrative Description
Larkin Building Narrative Description

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The Chacona Building
411-415 College Avenue

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The Larkin Building
403 College Avenue

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Treatment Guidelines Updated

Revisions have been made to The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties with Guidelines for Preserving, Rehabilitating, Restoring and Reconstructing Historic Buildings. The Guidelines have been updated to ensure that they continue to reflect best practices in historic preservation, apply to 20th-century building types, materials, and systems now considered historic, and incorporate modern methods and technologies.

Click here to view the Standards.

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Old Library Site Redevelopment

310-314 N. Cayuga St., DeWitt Park Historic District

Representatives of Travis Hyde Properties today presented the Legislature’s Old Library Committee an update on redevelopment of the site of the Old Tompkins County Library, now that the City of Ithaca’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, after many months of review, has awarded a Certificate of Appropriateness for the proposed project, which is located in the DeWitt Park Historic District.

The current design, it was noted, has changed significantly from previous versions. It represents the seventh design iteration since the Legislature awarded Travis Hyde preferred developer status nearly two years ago. The design retains the ground floor of the main area of the existing Old Library building, which will become a raised plaza at the ground level, about nine feet above sidewalk level. The four-story building includes set-backs of the third and fourth floors on three sides— the north and east sides along Court and Cayuga Streets, and the south side, adjacent to the DeWitt Park Inn, providing a two-story presence along the street.

The project includes 58 units, compared to the 60 initially proposed—a mix of one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and two-bedroom with den, including four first-floor loft units on the ground floor facing Court Street. The ground floor also includes a community room, to be managed and with priority use by the older adult organization Lifelong, and 1,250 square feet of commercial space. The new design also includes 38 spaces of enclosed ground-floor parking, compared to only ten parking spaces in the last design. Vehicle access to the building will now be from Court Street, instead of from the more heavily travelled Cayuga Street.

Asked about what will happen to existing trees, developer Frost Travis said those along Court Street, because of their current condition and problem of interfering with overhead power lines, will probably have to be removed and replaced with something similar, but that he intends to preserve as many existing trees as possible along Cayuga Street. Asked about energy aspects, Travis said the structure will be an all-electric building, with the potential for heat pumps.

The City Planning Board must still conduct site plan review, a process that will begin next month, and the developers said they hope for a somewhat accelerated process at this stage, in view of the lengthy review by the ILPC. Architect Graham Gillespie said he hopes discussions with the City will wrap up in May, with the developers back before the Legislature by late June.

Several people praised Travis Hyde for their considerable work on the project and development of the latest design, among them Chair Michael Lane, who expressed appreciation for the latest design, and particularly the parking configuration. (Mr. Lane had repeatedly expressed concern about the project’s parking capacity.) He said the latest design appears to address many of the concerns that have been voiced throughout the many months of project review.

Contact: Legislature Chair Michael Lane, Chair of the Old Library Committee, 274-5434 or 844-8440.

Click here for the most recent application proposal.

Check back to this link to for the latest meeting agendas, updates and additional links.

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Historic Tax Credit Improvement Act

The Historic Tax Credit Improvement Act (H.R.1158/S. 425) makes long overdue changes to the Historic Tax Credit (IRC § 47) to further encourage building reuse and redevelopment in small, midsize, and rural communities. It also makes the rehabilitation of community projects like theaters, libraries, and schools easier. Finally, the bill would make more historic properties eligible to use the credit by updating program requirements to reflect current industry practices. These reforms would be the first major changes to the Historic Tax Credit (HTC) since the Tax Reform Act of 1986. Click here to read more.

Historic Ithaca encourages you to contact Congressman Tom Reed to
support this act.

by phone: (607) 222-2027
by mail: 
401 E. State St. Suite 410, Ithaca, NY 14850
by email

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Historic Tax Credit Program Threatened

Historic Tax Credit programs has been a major force for revitalizing communities and stimulating economic growth. Owners of historic properties have been able to use this program as an incentive to rehabilitate buildings and put them back into active use as viable businesses or rental properties.Recently in Ithaca, buildings like the former Plantations, owned by Sunit “Lex” Chutintaranond, were rehabilitated using the state and federal historic tax credit program to successfully create Mia’s restaurant, a banquet room, office space, and rental apartments. This project helped improve the Downtown Commons.

During the 115th Congress, the Historic Tax Credit Improvement Act may be eliminated as part of Speaker Ryan’s “A Better Way” tax reform. We hope that you will join us in advocating for the continuation of the Historic Tax Credit by contacting our local congressman, Tom Reed. For more information on the Historic Tax Credit program and how you can help protect this essential preservation and economic development tool, please visit the Historic Tax Credit website created by the National Trust for Historic Preservation for valuable information: https://savingplaces.org/historic-tax-credits#.WJ81nW8rKM8

Click here to view the ACHP Policy Statement.

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New Design Guidelines

Downtown Design Guidelines:
Click here to view the Draft Downtown Design Guidelines.

Collegetown Design Guidelines:
Click here to view the Draft Collegetown Design Guidelines.

For more information, please contact Megan Wilson at mwilson@cityofithaca.org or (607) 274-6560.

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City of Ithaca Temporary Mandatory Planned Unit Development (TMPUD)

Public Information Session: Proposed Temporary Mandatory Planned Unit
Development (TMPUD) – Carpenter Business Park with Maguire
Click here to view the media release.

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Town of Ithaca Zoning Codes

Click here for more updates.

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Keep up-to-date on local development proposals:
To view agendas and minutes for City of Ithaca Planning and Development Board, Click here.

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