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Legislature Authorizes Request for Proposals to Develop Biggs Land

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Legislature Authorizes Request for Proposals to Develop Biggs Land

Tuesday, July 3, 2012
The Legislature, by unanimous vote of those present (Legislator Peter Stein was excused) authorized the County to issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) for private developers to lease or purchase 26 acres of vacant County land at the Biggs complex on Harris B. Dates Drive in the Town of Ithaca, to develop the parcel in a manner consistent with principles demonstrated through the County's Climate Showcase Communities grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The RFP for the County land seeks to demonstrate that the model similar to concepts used in the development of Ecovillage at Ithaca (particularly its third phase, currently under development, can be transferred to a more mainstream development option that will make this type of housing option more widely available. The RFP includes requirements for highly energy-efficient, pedestrian-oriented dwellings with transit access. Two-thirds of the site would remain as open space, with clustering of the housing units on the remainder.

Legislators spent time examining RFP provisions, especially language involving the possibility of interest arrangements, should that be determined appropriate as part of discussions with prospective developers.

Many Legislators praised Planning Commissioner Ed Marx for concerning the concept and development of the complex RFP, Legislator Mike Lane calling it one of the best he has seen in his years in county government. Legislature Chair Martha Robertson remarked, "It's really going to be an exciting development, and we certainly need the housing."