If Town of Batavia, NY officials seem less than enthusiastic about a proposed housing project off Stringham Drive, it’s understandable. The developers have changed plans several times, and those changes haven’t always been the sort that would ease neighbors’ opposition to the project.
The Stringham Drive area was conceived years ago as a single-family residential development. People bought their homes, confident that future development would be regulated by zoning that would ensure the ”country” feel of a residential area just outside the city limits. They were thus not happy when a Rochester developer proposed a 56-unit apartment complex in the area, and they made their objections known. In March of 2010, the developer withdrew the plan.
That was not the end of development, however. Nathaniel Development of Rochester soon submitted a proposal for a 19-lot single-family housing project off Stringham Drive. In November 2010, the town Planning Board ruled that the project would have no significant adverse impact on the neighborhood. It looked like the project was a go. But then it was learned the project had changed just a bit. A second access road had been added, and instead of conventional, private financing, the development would be funded by project-based Section 8 certificates through the federal government. The Town Board withdrew its previous declaration of “no significant adverse effect,” citing traffic and neighborhood character concerns.
But there is a bigger question here than whether low-income rental housing would fit the character of the Stringham Drive neighborhood. That question is: Should the federal government be subsidizing housing that isn’t needed? And the need for this housing is questionable.
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