Your Economy & Development news is made possible with support from: Brian Crandall reports on housing and development for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached at [email protected] More by Brian Crandall Tagged: affordable housing, building permits, No Place to Call Home: Ithaca’s Housing Crisis, tompkins county Here, with 7.2 newly permitted housing units per 100 residents, Dryden village is at the top, mostly a result of the Poet’s Landing affordable housing development off of Freeville Road. Lansing village is high because of East Pointe. But Lansing Town is the community most consistently adding new housing, at 6.78 units per 100 residents, and the City of Ithaca clocks in with 4.01 units per 100 residents.Still looking across the decade, there’s an unmistakable trend toward the City of Ithaca.In the four years starting the decade, 2010-2013, the city made up less than a quarter of all housing permits. In the past four years, it now makes up close to half of the county’s total. Lansing is also punching above its weight, but in this chart, the village and town are combined, and as previously noted, the village numbers soared in 2018 with the building permits for East Pointe. Dryden and the Town of Ithaca make up smaller portions than they used to, and Ithaca town’s would be much smaller were it not for Cornell’s Maplewood.Interestingly, all 65 of the units Dryden town permitted in 2018 were single-family homes, the tally includes not a single apartment building or even a duplex.Since 2010, Tompkins County has approved 3,223 units of housing. It seems like a lot on its own (and while vacancy rates have ticked up, it’s why the latest population estimates are likely inaccurate). But in terms of the county’s Housing Strategy, this is the first year that actually exceeded the total number of units sought per year – at least 580, plus student and senior housing. There are still persistent and significant shortages of affordable and for-sale housing, both affordable and market-rate. Still, to tackle the problem requires a combination of strategies, not just housing production but also greater tenant protections for low-income households, like those passed by the state earlier this year.While 2018 is a new record, the housing permits figure is likely to be much smaller for 2019. The Village Solars has another 42 units coming down the pipeline this year, and a few smaller projects are likely to take root in Lansing, but otherwise, no larger projects are underway in the towns. The City of Ithaca has had no major residential projects commence construction in 2019 other than Cornell’s North Campus dorms, which don’t count as far as HUD is concerned. To be fair, 2,000 more beds by 2022 is a lot and will help to satisfy some of the housing demand on the student side. However, at least 900 of those beds are for expanding the student population from Cornell’s current enrollment, and at least existing 500 existing beds will be out of service at any given time for renovations during the first couple of years, so the impact of the new dorms isn’t as big as it first looks.There’s a possibility the Arthaus (124 units) and West End Heights (60 units) affordable housing projects could obtain construction permits before year’s end, and maybe the 66-unit 815 South Aurora project. Most likely though, the countywide number for 2019 will be something in the 400-500 unit range at best, and below 300 at worst.But, keep an eye on 2020 and beyond. New housing tends to happen in spurts. This year may be low, but a number of projects going through planning board across the county, from the Trinitas plan in Varna to the various waterfront projects, could lead to more sustained higher housing production figures in the years ahead. If the county wants to fully rein in its housing issues, they’ll have to. ITHACA, N.Y. — A lot has been said about the county’s affordable housing crisis. This is a step in the right direction.According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, communities in Tompkins County granted construction permits for 805 units in 2018, a new record in both per capita production and overall total. The sum of 805 units surpasses the previous highs of 659 and 632 set in 1994 and 1987 respectively (1994 can be mostly attributed to Kendal at Ithaca’s original 420 units of housing, while 1987 was a more typical mix of projects).Quick disclaimer: housing units permitted doesn’t mean housing units built. A project may be issued building permits and then not move forward. However, the two numbers are generally close, though production of housing generally lags due to the time required to actually build a house or apartment building — anywhere from a few months to a couple of years. Additionally, group living setups like dormitories and nursing homes aren’t included in the tally, though Cornell’s Maplewood is in there because it’s an apartment complex.Breaking the numbers down, single-family home permits ticked upward in 2018 to 155 units, the highest total for that figure since 2007, while the number of multi-family permits jumped to a record high of 650. Of those, 24 units were in two-family dwellings (in other words, 12 duplex buildings), and 626 were in buildings with five units of housing or more.Looking at a breakdown of the housing permits by municipality, the City of Ithaca led the totals in 2018 with 340 units, followed by the Village of Lansing at 141 units and the Town of Lansing with 131 units. A lot of these can be attributed to just a few projects. In Ithaca’s case, where only 19 of the units were actually approved by the Planning Board in 2018, most of the total comes from projects that were approved in 2017, when 568 units were approved, and that began construction in 2018. It’s a little hard to figure out what started when, but 2018 permits likely include projects like 119-125 College Avenue (67 units), 238 Linden Avenue (24 units), and the Library Place senior housing (66 units). More than 300 of Ithaca’s units were multifamily, and there were four duplexes (eight units) and 15 single-family homes, most of which would be external accessory dwelling units such as a garage or shed conversions into apartments.The units in Lansing are easier to attribute. Lansing village was one single-family home and the 140 apartments under construction at the East Pointe Apartments on Bomax Drive. About 120 of Lansing town’s units come from Milton Meadows (72 units) and the Village Solars (48 units).On the other end of the scale, the village of Freeville hasn’t permitted a single new residential dwelling this decade. Groton village has only signed off on 11. Meanwhile, in recent years the town of Enfield has only approved one new house a year, and Cayuga Heights approved a 24-unit expansion of Kendal, a duplex and two single-family homes since 2010.Taking a different angle here – it ostensibly makes sense that the biggest community would produce the most housing, right? (That wasn’t true for most of the past 50 years.) The graph above looks at housing units permitted per 100 residents since 2010, with the population figures pulled from the 2010 census. Brian Crandall
iStock(LOS ANGELES) — Beverly Hills Police are hunting a suspect involved in an overnight break-in and vandalism of a Los Angeles synagogue and are investigating the incident as a hate crime.Authorities were called to the Nessah Synagogue, one of the largest Iranian-Jewish synagogues in the city, at 7 a.m. on Saturday morning when an employee arrived for work to discover that the premises had been ransacked.After a preliminary investigation, police are looking for a lone suspect described by the Beverly Hills Police Department in a statement as “a male white, 20-25 years of age, short dark curly hair, thin build, possibly wearing prescription glasses, shorts, low top shoes (possibly Pumas), and carried a backpack and pulled a rolling suitcase.”Authorities say that the suspect forced his way in at approximately 2 a.m. on Saturday morning and moved through the synagogue heavily ransacking the place.“The suspect disrupted the furnishings, and contents of the synagogue by overturning furniture and distributing brochures and materials throughout the interior,” said the Beverly Hills Police Department. “The suspect damaged several Jewish relics, but fortunately the synagogue’s main scrolls survived unscathed.Although it does not appear the suspect stole anything from the premises during the rampage and the suspect left no markings or other overt signs of anti-Semitism, police have cause to investigate the incident as a hate crime.“This cowardly act hits at the heart of who we are as a community,”” said Beverly Hills Mayor John Mirisch. “It is not just an attack on the Jewish community of Beverly Hills, it’s an attack on all of us. The entire city stands behind Nessah, its members and congregants. We are committed to catching the criminal who desecrated a holy place on Shabbat of all days and bringing him to justice. We are equally committed that our city will continue to be a welcoming place for Jews and for all members of religions and groups.”Several members of the police involved in the investigations have helped with the clean-up efforts and will also provide additional patrols throughout the Sabbath.The Nessah Synagogue plans to reopen its doors to congregants and worshipers on Sunday.Investigations are ongoing and significant efforts are underway to find and locate the suspect involved in the vandalism of the synagogue. @BeverlyHillsPD – The Beverly Hills Police Department is actively investigating a series of vandalisms that occurred in the City of Beverly Hills overnight at Nessah Synagogue. pic.twitter.com/vPnu6t4Awx— Beverly Hills Police (@BeverlyHillsPD) December 14, 2019Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.