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The Dansville Online
  • Despite opposition, Conifer to break ground on H'heads project

  • Despite intense opposition from neighbors, Conifer Realty plans to begin construction on the Biltmore Crossing Apartments in the spring.
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  • HORSEHEADS | Despite intense opposition from neighbors, Conifer Realty plans to begin construction on the Biltmore Crossing Apartments in the spring.
    The Rochester-based real estate company attempted to ease tensions surrounding the apartment complex at a Horseheads Town Board meeting Wednesday night, attended by about 250 people.
    The meeting was moved to the Horseheads American Legion to accommodate the large crowd.
    The seven-building, 56-unit complex, to be located on Biltmore Drive off of Gardner Road, has been in the works since April 2012 when Conifer Realty first brought the project to the Horseheads Town Planning Board.
    The town granted final approval in March 2013.
    According to Conifer, the apartments will serve working families with a median income of $25,000 to $37,000, with rent ranging from $525 to $849, due monthly. While it is not a Section 8 subsidized housing unit, it will accept Section 8 vouchers from tenants like many other apartment complexes, according to Conifer Realty.
    Many neighbors feel the apartments could attract problem tenants, and that the complex could affect property values.
    Mike Belosky, a Horseheads contractor who owns the Whispering Winds and Gardner Road Luxury Apartments complexes, believes the project was inaccurately described and that Horseheads residents were not given ample notice regarding public hearings.
    “The Horseheads Town Board approved this project almost 11 months before the community knew what was really going to be built here,” Belosky said at Wednesday night’s meeting. “To me, it’s nothing but a dog and pony show. It’s completely absurd to think the Town of Horseheads Board would do that.”
    Horseheads resident Ken Miller echoed Belosky’s concerns, taking issue with the board’s process of approval.
    “The town board caused this problem,” Miller said. “Not because they approved it, but because of how they approved it.”
    Horseheads Town Board members declined to answer questions from the public during the meeting - which is normal procedure for comment periods at meetings - but spokespersons for Conifer Realty addressed the crowd before and after neighbors’ concerns were voiced.
    Lisa Kaseman, Conifer’s project director for the Biltmore Crossing Apartments, assured the public that they had been clear with their intentions from the start.
    “Conifer Realty is an affordable housing firm, that’s what we build, so it has always been an affordable housing community,” Kaseman said.
    “Unfortunately, there’s a lot of discrimination against affordable housing and this is just a really great example of that.”
    Kaseman noted that several public hearings were held and plenty of information was provided to the town throughout the review process. She said a study by Conifer indicated a need for affordable housing in the Horseheads area.
    Page 2 of 2 - “We do a market study and a market analysis on every site ... our funding agencies will not fund anything that doesn’t have a market need,” Kaseman said. “So yes, there was a large need.”
    With plans to begin construction “in the near future,” according to Kaseman, Conifer expects the Biltmore Crossing Apartments to be finished by spring 2015.

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