DRYDEN, N.Y. — The Cornell-Varna corridor is getting to be a very busy place. An application filed this week by the town of Dryden shows a new $7.5 million townhouse project has been proposed for 802 Dryden Road, just east of the Cornell Arboretum at the intersection of Route 366 and Game Farm Road.

The plans call for 42 units over 3 acres, in six strings with seven townhomes apiece, along with site grading, utilities improvements, landscaping and a circular private driveway lined with parking. The units would be a mix of 2-4 bedrooms, altogether totaling 108 bedrooms. Two lots with five properties would be removed to make way for the project – 802-804 Dryden Road, which has two houses and a former motorcycle shop, and a pair of homes at 810-812 Dryden Road. The lots would need to be merged with the town’s approval.

The developer, Charlie O’Connor of Ithaca’s Modern Living Rentals, has been quite busy as of late, with several projects recently built or under construction throughout the area. Among those are an 8-unit addition at 902 Dryden Road, a pair of two-family homes in Ithaca’s Southside neighborhood, and 8 additional units at 607 South Aurora Street on South Hill. Along with being its own developer, MLR manages the rental units built by business partner Todd Fox of Visum Development.

“Back in 2014, I became friends with the current owner of 802 Dryden Road, Wayne Woodward, who owns CNY Rentals. Wayne has been a local landlord for 30+ years in the Ithaca area and we started talking about this site in 2014 when I purchased a different home from him,” said O’Connor.

“The opportunity presented its self for us to partner up and work together to develop the site. With Cornell growing, and a high demand for housing on this side of campus, we decided now would be a good time to get the process started. The town houses will be market rate apartments that will focus on a mix between students, families, and working professionals.”

The property is zoned VHMUD, “Varna Hamlet Mixed-Use District“. VHMUD allows 10 townhouse units per acre, but awards a density bonus of 2 units/acre if the development meets LEED Certification, and a project may be awarded an additional 2 units/acre density bonus if it’s considered a desirable redevelopment by town boards. That would lead to 14 townhouse units/acre, meaning this project is at the theoretical legal maximum permitted by zoning.

“Through the development of the subject parcels, it is the development team’s opinion that the project will produce an overall improvement to the Dryden Road corridor while providing additional housing that the local area needs,” writes Adam Fishel of Marathon Engineering, the firm in charge of the application process. “Therefore, the town of Dryden should consider the additional lot density associated with the Redevelopment Bonus applicable to this project.”

The townhouse units are very similar to those at 902 Dryden Road, although this time around, Ithaca’s John Snyder Architects has taken charge of design. The plans call for 2-story units with soft earth-tone colors in deference to the arboretum next door.

O’Connor said there was no firm timeline for development as of yet, but that he expected the project to be built all in one phase, and take less than a year from start to finish.

Brian Crandall reports on housing and development for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached at bcrandall@ithacavoice.org.