Construction may begin in October after funding is set

If the final piece of funding comes through for the Keuka Gardens apartment development planned for the Brown Street Extension, the developer, Home Leasing, plans to break ground in October.

The project was approved by the Penn Yan Planning Board at its Jan. 9 meeting, but only after nearly an hour long discussion with representatives from the developer and neighbors.

A $1.2 million grant from the state Office for People with Developmental Disabilities will support the designation of 11 of the units for use by individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The additional funding is expected from New York State’s Homes and Community Renewal.

The project calls for 42 apartments to be built in a three-story structure just north of Lakeside Lanes bowling alley. A driveway to the site will be built from the bowling alley’s parking lot so an additional driveway from State Route 14A will not be required.

Most of the discussion revolved around the sidewalk the developer proposes for the state Department of Transportation right of way.

Neighboring property owner Mickey Orr noted, and Planning Board Chairman Cliff Orr agreed, that DOT officials have not yet approved a plan for the sidewalk. Cliff Orr noted the project could be built without the sidewalk, but planning board members all voiced their preference for including the sidewalk in the site plan.

Cliff Orr said he has received a letter from DOT that states as long as sidewalk is on grade with the road, it’s in compliance with DOT regulations.

The village’s comprehensive plan states that walkability is a priority for all developments.

Neighbors expressed concerns that the sidewalk will be too steep for easy walking, and Mickey Orr said he doesn’t believe anyone will use it.

Planning Board member Stan Olevnick said he needs to see a sidewalk with the project. “There might not be that many people using the sidewalk, but we would be preventing it (walkability) if we didn’t provide a sidewalk.”

Ashley Champion, attorney for Home Leasing, noted the project fits the requirements of the village’s zoning chapter, and Cliff Orr pointed out that as long as the project meets the village code requirements, the planning board cannot disapprove.