Tuesday, November 27, 2007

United Against United Group In Oswego

It’s been rough sledding for the United Group in Oswego.

United Group is the Troy-based company that wants to build student housing in the City of Plattsburgh. There are been some opposition to the plan because the project conflicts with a proposed change in the zoning laws.

Center City residents are tired of the problems caused by unruly college students and want to limit the number of students living in an apartment unit to three, not four as United Group wants. But the opposition the company has encountered so far in Plattsburgh is nothing compared to what it has faced in Oswego where it has been trying to push through a similar student housing project.

According to various articles published in the Syracuse Post-Standard newspaper, the United Group’s first plan was to build in the city of Oswego. But that project was killed last year when citizens near the proposed site rallied, signing petitions, putting pressure on their elected officials.

These citizens were against a concentration of students – ranging from 300 to 400 – being placed in the midst of their quiet neighborhood.

There was even talk about rezoning to block the project. Faced with rezoning, the landowner of the proposed site agreed to a deed restriction limiting the size of any development on his property.

So United Group moved the project closer to the SUNY-Oswego campus, leaving the city behind and moving on to the town. This time the number of students to be housed has jumped to 600. But citizens in the town of Oswego are against the project. They had a lawyer challenge the decision by the town’s zoning board to approve the project, but a state Supreme Court judge ruled back in August that the decision was legal.

That’s one hurdle jumped but a few more remain for United Group, including a site review and traffic and environmental studies.

It’s interesting that when United Group made its presentation in Plattsburgh that it mentioned it had a project pending in Oswego. The company didn’t explain how pending it was.

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