A children’s puzzle-book approach to solving real-world problems
It’s NIMBY planning with Ivy League backing: Cornell’s Design Connect Complete Streets transportation “design interventions” drop the traffic and esthetic of a “mini-city” urban sprawl bedroom community into the middle of a green rural landscape.
It’s part of the University’s plan to solve Ithaca’s residential development and housing problems — by dumping them on someone else: the rural town of Lansing.
Cornell’s Design Connect isn’t just looking to help residents; they’re advocating “changes to town policy and planning procedure” as well.
It isn’t surprising that their policy recommendations echo every other “helping” voice – since it’s all the same voice and the same agenda. While the Design Connect study uses every possible reason for increasing the construction of residential housing in Lansing; it declares that the town should: “Limit the acreage of land zoned for commercial and light industrial uses in the Town. Dis-courage strip commercial development through appropriate zoning mechanisms. Limit heavy industry to existing Industrial/Research (IR) Districts.”
“County” planning has decided that Ithaca should be the only business center, and has actively worked to block Lansing’s attempts bring businesses into town — the Tompkins County Legislature actually went to Albany to stop NYSEG from supplying Lansing with the natural gas that was needed for new commercial and industrial development.
“. . . the southern portion of the town of Lansing will likely continue to serve as a bedroom community for Ithaca professionals and other workers.”
Design Connect’s “Best Planning Practices” not only accept the existence of a major urban sprawl bedroom community in the rural town of Lansing; they seek to greatly increase its size and density through “urban design overlay zones,” and recommend that the town “increase density and provide affordable housing,” change zoning with “reduced minimum open space requirements,” “Density Bonuses,” and “Amended Density Requirements,” – and build a new infrastructure to accommodate that increase – merely tacking on the goals of efficiency and low carbon emissions onto what is clearly not the “best planning practice” for a rural community.
Their recommendations for Lansing include “redevelopment of underutilized properties”; while at the same time there are block after block of old wood-frame houses in downtown Ithaca that would be perfect sites for redevelopment as high-density housing, and thousands of unused acres suitable for building surrounding the City’s core.
The redevelopment of Ithaca’s unused and underutilized building lots, and creation of affordable and appropriate urban housing, will solve the housing shortage, require no new infrastructures, efficiently use existing bus routes, be in the closest proximity to jobs in the education, business, institutional, and health care sectors, increase access to the cultural center of the county, and have the highest possible walkability and the greatest alternative transport choices for residents, while at the same time reducing the carbon footprint for transportation to a minimum.
It would solve every one of Lansing’s housing and transportation problems but one: Cornell does not want that solution.
Everywhere; there is the exhortation for more higher-density housing in the town of Lansing: high-density housing for affordable housing, high-density housing for sustainability, high-density housing for the environment, high-density housing for lower taxes, for the aging, for reducing carbon emissions, for curing cancer, for bringing about World Peace . . . the high-density housing that is needed in rural Lansing to maintain Ithaca’s gentrified, college-town pastiche for students – taking four years of memories, going to a six-figure salary, and adding more coin to Cornell’s corporate coffers.
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