Still Hurdles To Overcome Before Developing Ives Hill Back 9

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It was a big turnout for a town of Watertown planning board meeting.

They were there because of a planned 530-unit apartment complex on 63 acres that is now the back nine holes of the Ives Hill golf course.

In a preliminary meeting with the board, Patrick Scordo with GYMO described the project.

"It's a higher-end residential area, it's pristine land and adjacent to the golf course," Scordo said. "You're going to want this to look nice and blend in."

The land is owned by businessman P.J. Simao. It's unclear whether he will develop the land himself or sell it.

Either way, there's a lot of work to do. The land is zoned residential, so a zone change is necessary before anything can be built.

"It they can overcome the hurdles and provide a project that meets zoning requirements, and meets the site plan requirements, then we'll definitely consider it favorably," said planning board co-chair Thomas Boxberger.

A zone change won't be easy. A public hearing would be required and some community members were not happy with the plan, calling it "disgusting, disappointing and irritating."

"If the zone changes get approved or if a variance is issued, hopefully the planning board can do our job and mitigate those concerns to the best extent possible," Boxberger said.

Still, Scordo says he's optimistic.

"We know it's going to be a difficult, hard project, but most of them are these days," he said, so we welcome the challenge."

Scordo says if all goes as planned, ground could be broken this summer.

Thursday, July 24, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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