BATH - The majority of a large crowd that recently attended a Bath Village Planning Board meeting seemed to be against the construction of a 64-unit low income apartment complex at 7181 State Route 54.

Jeffrey Eaton, president and Chief Executive Officer at Arbor Housing, told the board that Arbor has discussed purchasing the site and building eight apartment complexes and a community center at the site.

To do that, Arbor would need the property, which formerly housed a grocery store and another smaller business, rezoned from commercial/retail to residential.

“We’ve been looking for a site to provide workforce affordable housing in the Bath area for a while,” Eaton said. “We have looked at a number of different sites and we were recently made aware of the site on State Route 54.”

Arbor officials just presented their potential plans to the Planning Board but did not submit a site plan approval.

“This is still evolving,” Eaton said. “We just wanted to get (this idea) on (the planning board’s) radar.”
The proposed plan would only take about 7.5 acres of the near 19 acre site, Eaton said. Arbor officials have considered building a large three-story low income apartment complex, similar to the building Arbor had constructed in 2017 in North Corning, at the site so the remaining sections could be used as commercial/retail space.

Eaton said Arbor has also looked at a site in the Town of Bath, which was too cost prohibited, and a site near the Bath VA entrance.

Jim Deats, village planning board chairman, said it doesn’t set a good precedent of change to go from commercial/retail to residential.

“It’s kind of spot zoning,” Deats said.

Jody Allen, an Engineering Consultant representing Arbor Housing, disagreed.

“It really wouldn't be considered spot zoning,” Allen said. “It’s an extension of an existing medium density residential zone. The property immediately adjacent to the site (Clyde F. Simon Lakeview Apartments) is already zoned medium density residential. So it’s not spot zoning.”

The Village Planning Board took no action on the proposed zoning change and Eaton did not know when Arbor would submit for the change.

Deats said the planning board would just make a recommendation on a possible zoning change to the full Village Board which would make the ultimate decision.