DePaul https://www.thebatavian.com/ en https://www.thebatavian.com/themes/barrio_batavian/images/thebatavian_logo.png DePaul https://www.thebatavian.com/ Local Matters © 2008-2023 The Batavian. All Rights Reserved. Wed, 22 May 2024 04:13:28 -0400 https://www.thebatavian.com/themes/barrio_batavian/images/thebatavian_logo.png Wed, 19 Oct 2022 22:50:00 -0400 Recovering addict at DePaul in Batavia uses his time to try and help others https://www.thebatavian.com/press-release/recovering-addict-at-depaul-in-batavia-uses-his-time-to-try-and-help-others/620124
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Press Release:

Mike VanSlyke has lived with active addiction from the time he was ten years old until less than a year ago at 39 years old.

“I’ve done big things, stupid things, painful things, awful things, some good things, all kinds of things,” he said.

Now 40, he’s been sober since moving into the Batavia Apartment Treatment Program last August. Mike said he’s been choosing to “do the next right thing.”

“I’ve been horrible at taking my own advice my whole life,” he said. “I think I’m smarter than my own advice. That’s where I’m at now. I finally decided to [take my own advice] instead of telling other people how to live.”

On April 7, 2022, Mike launched a peer-support network for those struggling with addiction, mental health, and/or coping with daily life called Forgotten Ones on Facebook, and now also on Instagram and Twitter. The Facebook page has 1,300 followers and growing!

Through Forgotten Ones, Mike is dedicating his time to being a ‘Friend, Guide, Advocate,’ as his contact card reads. He regularly posts positive, encouraging memes, shares his own story, and invites others to post their clean dates, doing his best to acknowledge milestones big and small.

“We’ll always be there when you need us,” reads the description on the Forgotten Ones Facebook page. “You matter!”

In addition, Mike has a phone number specifically for Forgotten Ones which people can call in crisis at any time of day. The hours on the Facebook page are listed as “always open.” He may have just made dinner, but if he gets a call, message or email from someone in need of support, dinner waits.

“That one second could save somebody’s life,” he said.

Mike reassures those who reach out to Forgotten Ones for support that everything remains confidential.

“I don’t ask them for anything except how old are you and what can I do to help you? For you to be happy, what does life have to look like? That’s where it starts. We go from there.

There is only one requirement to those who call.

“You need to be willing to do things to get better,” he said. “I won’t spin my wheels. If you come to me and want help, I’ll help, but if you’re not willing, I can’t do anything.”

Mike envisions building a team of volunteers in the future to better be able to serve those who seek support. He feels that people who seek out his help can relate to him because of his own personal struggles with addiction and mental health.

“There are very few things in this world I haven’t done or I haven’t been through.”

Now Mike is rebuilding with the help, encouragement and motivation of friends, family and counselors like Lisa Glow, a Program Director at Horizon Health Services.

“When I think about the growth that he’s made over the past ten years, he’s finally at a place where he wants this for him, not because somebody else is telling him to get sober or stabilize his mental health,” said Lisa. “He’s finally taken everything he’s learned, even when he hasn’t wanted to hear it, and acted on it. He’s finally really doing the work.”

Lisa helped Mike find DePaul and the Batavia Apartment Treatment Program.

“They added stability and structure that he needed in order to get through the early part of his recovery,” she said of the staff at the Batavia Apartments.

After moving in last August, he spent the first few days soaking in the feeling of being home and feeling safe in his own apartment.

“I can be alone in my apartment all the time, but there’s always someone here,” he said. “I’m the type of guy, I don’t ask for a lot of help but if I know someone is in the office, I’ll find a reason to come out and talk.”

Residential Supervisor at DePaul’s Batavia Apartments, Brionna Majors said Mike’s passion and drive to have a positive impact on the lives of others and in the world has been an inspiration to not only his peers, but staff as well.

“Everyone’s journey in life is a unique one,” she said. “Life can take all of us through so many different twists and turns and can place unexpected obstacles in front of you. The direction that you choose to take with the cards you are dealt is where you learn the most valuable life lessons.”

Within a few weeks of moving into the Batavia Apartment Treatment Program, Mike was diagnosed with lymphedema, a condition caused by a blockage of the lymphatic system which causes swelling in both of his legs. He finds it ironic that now that he has the motivation, drive and purpose to change his life around, he’s got physical limitations preventing him from moving forward.

“I might not be alright from the waist down, but from the neck up, I’m the best I’ve ever been,” he said. “That says a lot. Everything happens for a reason,” he said.

Instead of getting mad about something he cannot change, he decided to take a friend’s advice and turn a negative into a positive. That same friend is the one who sent him a computer, which allowed him to start Forgotten Ones.

“It’s all motivation, everything, the good, the bad,” he said. “I feel like the people who are in my life have deserved better from me …I’ve never given them what they deserve.”

And the next right move for Mike is to make it all count for something.

“This is going to be my life’s work,” he said.

Submitted photo.

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https://www.thebatavian.com/press-release/recovering-addict-at-depaul-in-batavia-uses-his-time-to-try-and-help-others/620124#comments https://www.thebatavian.com/press-release/recovering-addict-at-depaul-in-batavia-uses-his-time-to-try-and-help-others/620124 Oct 19, 2022, 10:50pm DePaul Recovering addict at DePaul in Batavia uses his time to try and help others Press Release <p><div> <div class="field field--name-field-media-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img loading="lazy" src="https://www.thebatavian.com/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/users/60/2022-10/img_4335mike.jpg?itok=MsHnFi_O" width="460" height="307" alt="img_4335mike.jpg" class="image-style-large"> </div> </div> </p> <p>Press Release:</p> <blockquote> <p>Mike VanSlyke has lived with active addiction from the time he was ten years old until less than a year ago at 39 years old.</p> <p>“I’ve done big things, stupid things, painful things, awful things, some good things, all kinds of things,” he said.</p> <p>Now 40, he’s been</p></blockquote>
Sponsored Post: DePaul La Rosa Villas is accepting applications for income eligible individuals 55 & over https://www.thebatavian.com/lisa-ace/sponsored-post-depaul-la-rosa-villas-is-accepting-applications-for-income-eligible-0

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https://www.thebatavian.com/lisa-ace/sponsored-post-depaul-la-rosa-villas-is-accepting-applications-for-income-eligible-0#comments https://www.thebatavian.com/lisa-ace/sponsored-post-depaul-la-rosa-villas-is-accepting-applications-for-income-eligible-0 Aug 13, 2020, 12:00pm DePaul Sponsored Post: DePaul La Rosa Villas is accepting applications for income eligible individuals 55 & over Lisa Ace <p><a href="https://www.depaul.org/locations/la-rosa-villas/"></a></p>
Sponsored Post: DePaul La Rosa Villas is accepting applications for income eligible individuals 55 & over https://www.thebatavian.com/lisa-ace/sponsored-post-depaul-la-rosa-villas-is-accepting-applications-for-income-eligible

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https://www.thebatavian.com/lisa-ace/sponsored-post-depaul-la-rosa-villas-is-accepting-applications-for-income-eligible#comments https://www.thebatavian.com/lisa-ace/sponsored-post-depaul-la-rosa-villas-is-accepting-applications-for-income-eligible Aug 6, 2020, 12:00pm DePaul Sponsored Post: DePaul La Rosa Villas is accepting applications for income eligible individuals 55 & over Lisa Ace <p><a href="https://www.depaul.org/locations/la-rosa-villas/"><div> <div class="field field--name-field-media-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img loading="lazy" src="https://www.thebatavian.com/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/users/7438/2020-08/depaul-la-rosa-sp.jpg?itok=GDpTjcPd" width="460" height="700" alt class="image-style-large"> </div> </div> </a></p>
City Council rejects rezoning request that would have brought housing for disabled to Batavia https://www.thebatavian.com/howard-b-owens/city-council-rejects-rezoning-request-that-would-have-brought-housing-for-disabled-to Three pieces of property snug in the middle of other housing and commercial parcels should remain, at least for the time being, available for industrial use, the City Council decided Monday night on a 3-6 vote.

The decision ends, perhaps permanently, a bid by DePaul Properties to build an 80-unit apartment complex at 661, 665 and 679 E. Main St., Batavia, that would have provided housing for people with disabilities, elderly residents lacking mobility, and veterans with special needs.

Developer Mark Fuller didn't rule out trying to build the complex sometime in the future -- the property is likely to be rezoned as part of the city's revision of its comprehensive plan -- but he sounded a sour note as he discussed the council's rejection of the rezoning resolution, and hence, his project.

"I really don’t want to go into communities where we’re not well received," Fulle said. "There’s yet to be a community that hasn’t wanted us to come in. If the community is still against it if it’s zoned differently, I just don’t know that I want to put energy into a community that is not behind it."

Fuller is a Genesee County resident and said he was baffled by the community's response to the project proposal, which would have represented a $25 million local investment by DePaul and increased the current tax revenue for the city four times over the current tax revenue, plus generated significant revenue for sewer and water hookups.

The PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) agreement DePaul Properties was willing to enter into for the project would have actually obligated DePaul to pay more in taxes than otherwise required for a nonprofit under Property & Tax Law section 581(a).

In other communities where Fuller has overseen the development of DePaul projects there has been nothing but positive feedback he said, including West Seneca, which he said saw an increase in property values around the DePaul project there.

"We had a press conference in Rome this morning where 80 people showed up thanking us for coming and every single City Council member came up and thanked me for developing there," Fuller said. "We have a lot of projects across the state. We get calls all the time, so I think I’m going to put my energy into communities that want the redevelopment and investment."

The housing is needed in Batavia, Fuller said, because currently the people who might live in the complex are stuck in substandard housing for their needs or unable to live independently because of the lack of adequate housing for their needs. The market for this housing is very different from standard rentals, he said, and wouldn't be competition for existing landlords.

Fuller's comments came after a lengthy City Council session that included public comments both for and against the project and remarks from council members who both supported and opposed letting DePaul build on the property.

The nay votes came from Bob Bialkowski, Paul Viele, Kathy Briggs, Al McGinnis, John Canale, and Council President Eugene Jankowski.

Many of the DePaul supporters were clients of DePaul or otherwise associated with the organization.

Quentin Call said that DePaul has been an asset to every community where it has built a project and that even though it's a nonprofit, through a special Payment In Lieu of Taxes arrangement, DePaul will increase funding for the city over the property's present commercial use. 

"I’m not sure if any industrial uses have been proposed for the property, however in regards to the PILOT program, any industrial facility that might come in would be seeking that designation as well," Call noted.

Pastor Marty Macdonald, from City Church, and himself a local landlord, said he believes, based on his experience as a landlord and pastor of a large church, that the community needs the additional handicapped accessible housing from DePaul.

"I’m going at this from a humanitarian position, but business side as well, that there is a need for housing and there is going to be a greater need for housing," Macdonald said. "Batavia will not stay the same as it is. There are too many great things going on. I’m thankful for that and I hope you are, too."

Batavia resident John Roach was among the speakers casting doubts on the need for more apartments in Batavia. He said including DePaul, there are an additional 180 to 190 apartment units currently on the drawing board for Batavia.

"You’re already going to have one 100 new apartments in areas that are already zoned for it," Roach said. "We don’t need these 80 rooms."

George Gallegher said something industrial or commercial should go on the property, not apartments run by a nonprofit.

"This isn’t the best use of our land resources that are capable of generating tax income," Gallegher said. "Now they want to add two more tax exempt PILOT programs again right on Main Street. The people that I talk to who are well versed in where properties should be and how they should be used, they said that’s not very smart."

John Gerace argued the property should remain zoned industrial.

"The City Manager apparently must be clairvoyant to say that there will never be any development on that property that is industrial," Gerace said. "Who knew what happened in the city years and years ago --- what’s going to happen down the road a year from now, two years from now, and what that property could be used for and on the tax record."

DePaul, he said, like anybody else, was just looking to make money.

"DePaul is going to receive dollar for dollar tax credits," Gerace said. "That’s $25 million in tax credits. Why do they want to build this? Because there’s money in it. And yes, will it serve a purpose for our community, absolutely, and I’m all for helping our seniors, our veterans, our needy folks. This is not the project for it, unfortunately, and it should not be here in Batavia. I don’t know why it’s not in Le Roy."

It's not clear where Gerace is getting the $25 million tax credit figure. There's no public document available to support the assertion. Also, there already is a DePaul project being considered for Le Roy.

When it came time for council members to address the issue, Councilwoman Patti Pacino spoke up first and said as somebody about to turn 70, her need for a place to live such as DePaul is only about a decade away. She said her and her husband, a disabled veteran, will want a place with the ease-of-access the DePaul project was offering and that currently there isn't an adequate supply of such housing in Batavia.

"You know what, I don’t want to live in Le Roy," Pacino said. "I don’t want to live in Stafford. I don’t want to live in the Town of Batavia. I want to live in the city I grew up in and I helped make better in any number of ways, working with children, church organizations, City Council.

"There are lovely apartments here if you happen to be a young person," she added, "but guess what guys, all the sudden you look in the mirror and you’re looking at your mother’s face and her hand is coming out your sleeve."

She said she favored tabling the resolution until the city completes its comprehensive plan and the county completes its housing study so the council could make a decision with more information available. The motion to table failed on a 4-5 vote.

Councilman John Canale also supported tabling the resolution, but ultimately voted against the rezone, saying it was one of the hardest decisions he's wrestled with in four-and-a-half years on council, but it was what his constituents wanted.

"I feel that at this point I just can’t support this because I know we wouldn’t be sitting here talking about rezoning if DePaul hadn’t come froward with this project," Canale said.

Councilman Adam Tabelski spoke at length about the rezoning issue, arguing that dropping the industrial zone designation was the only reasonable approach the council could take.

"That (industrial zoning) is very difficult to justify in my opinion when nobody is out marketing it as such," Tabelski said. "The fact is, industrial development has not had a history at all at that site. In fact, as Councilman (Bob) Bialkowski mentioned, its history has been residential and commercial. If we are waiting for some factory to be built on this location, we’re waiting for a ship that is never going to come in."

Tabeliski noted that nearly every property to the east of the three parcels is currently residential and all the properties to the west are commercial.

"Across the street, you have an ice cream shop, a gas station, a car wash and an auto parts store," Tabelski said. "It makes no sense to me how a C2 designation is somehow out of character with that immediate neighborhood."

He said keeping the property zoned industrial is just inviting something out of character, that will upset area residents, to be built on the property. The council should listen to the city's own planning board, which recommended rezoning, and the County Planning Board, which also supported the rezoning.

"These are the experts who are supposed to guide us on land use, both in the short term and the long term, and to ignore their expertise and experience does them and us a big disservice," Tabelski said. "We have a reputable developer knocking on our door willing to invest $25 million in our community and our goal is to create opportunities for our residents. I think we need to welcome it."

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https://www.thebatavian.com/howard-b-owens/city-council-rejects-rezoning-request-that-would-have-brought-housing-for-disabled-to#comments https://www.thebatavian.com/howard-b-owens/city-council-rejects-rezoning-request-that-would-have-brought-housing-for-disabled-to May 9, 2017, 12:38pm DePaul City Council rejects rezoning request that would have brought housing for disabled to Batavia Howard Owens <p>Three pieces of property snug in the middle of other housing and commercial parcels should remain, at least for the time being, available for industrial use, the City Council decided Monday night on a 3-6 vote.</p> <p>The decision ends, perhaps permanently, a bid by DePaul Properties to build an 80-unit</p>
Developer of new DePaul project may ask council to table tonight's vote on rezoning https://www.thebatavian.com/howard-b-owens/developer-of-new-depaul-project-may-ask-council-to-table-tonights-vote-on-rezoning The developer of an apartment complex intended to provide an increase in affordable housing for people with disabilities, especially seniors with disabilities, in Batavia, said this afternoon that he intends to ask the City Council to table a resolution tonight that would rezone the land needed for the apartments.

Mark Fuller, a Genesee County resident, intends to build more than 80 units in a complex at 661, 665 and 679 E. Main St., Batavia.

"We're actually going to ask them to table the vote tonight until a housing study comes out in the middle of the year that I think very much supports the need for this type of housing," Fuller said. "That (the study) was brought up by a couple of council members, so we at least want to give them a chance to read the study before taking the vote."

The lots are currently zoned industrial and in order for the project to go forward, the council would need to rezone it to C2, a commercial designation that would allow apartments.

The lots are a former state police barracks and are surrounded by mostly residential and commercial property.

Two weeks ago, the council voted by a narrow 5-4 margin to move the resolution for rezoning to tonight's business meeting.

"In all the projects that we've done, we've had nothing but great support," Fuller said. "I'm just surprised there's been some pushback from City Council."

Fuller is currently working on 18 similar projects around the region for DePaul Properties, he said.

He said he thinks there is community support for building the apartments and that there is an unmet need in the community for this type of affordable housing oriented toward people with disabilities, seniors with disabilities, and veterans.

"We've had nothing but terrific support from everyone I've talk to about this," Fuller said.

He said once completed, even with a PILOT agreement in place, property taxes generated by these apartments would still be four times more revenue for the city and school district than the revenue currently generated by the existing use. Plus, the development would pay a substantial bill for municipal sewer and water.

The City Council meets at 7 p.m.

Interview conducted by The Batavian's news partner, WBTA.

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https://www.thebatavian.com/howard-b-owens/developer-of-new-depaul-project-may-ask-council-to-table-tonights-vote-on-rezoning#comments https://www.thebatavian.com/howard-b-owens/developer-of-new-depaul-project-may-ask-council-to-table-tonights-vote-on-rezoning May 8, 2017, 3:35pm DePaul Developer of new DePaul project may ask council to table tonight's vote on rezoning Howard Owens <p>The developer of an apartment complex intended to provide an increase in affordable housing for people with disabilities, especially seniors with disabilities, in Batavia, said this afternoon that he intends to ask the City Council to table&nbsp;a resolution tonight that would rezone the land needed for the apartments.</p> <p>Mark Fuller</p>
Sponsored Post: Helping people in need, DePaul Batavia Square Apartments https://www.thebatavian.com/lisa-ace/sponsored-post-helping-people-in-need-depaul-batavia-square-apartments/266380

Helping People in Need -- DePaul Batavia Square Apartments
DePaul, a not-for-profit organization established in 1958, is seeking to rezone two East Main Street properties in order to allow construction of 80 units of housing for income-eligible tenants.

The affordable apartments would be fully handicap accessible, provide workforce housing and would serve vulnerable populations including veterans, elderly individuals and persons with special needs who would be linked with supportive services. A spring 2018 construction date is targeted.

DePaul committed last fall to build new facilities in Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties as part of a $2.6 billion statewide plan to develop supportive housing units for vulnerable populations such as the working poor, seniors and veterans. 

Working with SWBR Architects, DePaul has plans for six buildings — two multistory apartment buildings and four sets of townhomes placed in half-circles around a central green space. The newest developments in solar technology would be utilized and vegetated “green roofs” would be located over both the two- and three-story, 24-unit buildings with shared laundry facilities in each townhome. According to DePaul President Mark Fuller, DePaul is staying on trend with varied design and less density, providing mixed-use, diverse options to populations in need. 

Having access to affordable, quality housing in a neighborhood that is connected to jobs and other amenities makes life better for people. Research demonstrates there is a positive relationship between stable, affordable housing and improved health, increased academic performance and greater economic self-sufficiency. 

Construction of new affordable housing creates a host of jobs, while vacant or underutilized parcels are transformed, increasing the value of the property and neighboring areas. Communities truly benefit from the revitalization of neighborhoods and promotion of economic and social integration. DePaul is committed to investing in Batavia and the many people in need who benefit from quality housing. For more information; please visit us online at: www.depaul.org

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https://www.thebatavian.com/lisa-ace/sponsored-post-helping-people-in-need-depaul-batavia-square-apartments/266380#comments https://www.thebatavian.com/lisa-ace/sponsored-post-helping-people-in-need-depaul-batavia-square-apartments/266380 May 8, 2017, 12:00pm DePaul Sponsored Post: Helping people in need, DePaul Batavia Square Apartments Lisa Ace <p><a href="https://www.depaul.org"><div> <div class="field field--name-field-media-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img loading="lazy" src="https://www.thebatavian.com/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/users/7438/2017-05/depaulsp.png?itok=CK18B2Z2" width="460" height="311" alt class="image-style-large"> </div> </div> </a></p> <p><strong>Helping People in Need -- DePaul Batavia Square Apartments<br> </strong>DePaul, a not-for-profit organization established in 1958, is seeking to rezone two East Main Street properties in order to allow construction of 80 units of housing for income-eligible tenants.</p> <p>The affordable apartments would be fully handicap accessible, provide workforce housing and</p>
Sponsored Post: Helping people in need, DePaul Batavia Square Apartments https://www.thebatavian.com/lisa-ace/sponsored-post-helping-people-in-need-depaul-batavia-square-apartments/266379

Helping People in Need -- DePaul Batavia Square Apartments
DePaul, a not-for-profit organization established in 1958, is seeking to rezone two East Main Street properties in order to allow construction of 80 units of housing for income-eligible tenants.

The affordable apartments would be fully handicap accessible, provide workforce housing and would serve vulnerable populations including veterans, elderly individuals and persons with special needs who would be linked with supportive services. A spring 2018 construction date is targeted.

DePaul committed last fall to build new facilities in Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties as part of a $2.6 billion statewide plan to develop supportive housing units for vulnerable populations such as the working poor, seniors and veterans. 

Working with SWBR Architects, DePaul has plans for six buildings — two multistory apartment buildings and four sets of town homes placed in half-circles around a central green space. The newest developments in solar technology would be utilized and vegetated “green roofs” would be located over both the two- and three-story, 24-unit buildings with shared laundry facilities in each town home.

According to DePaul President Mark Fuller, DePaul is staying on trend with varied design and less density, providing mixed-use, diverse options to populations in need. 

Having access to affordable, quality housing in a neighborhood that is connected to jobs and other amenities makes life better for people. Research demonstrates there is a positive relationship between stable, affordable housing and improved health, increased academic performance and greater economic self-sufficiency. 

Construction of new affordable housing creates a host of jobs, while vacant or underutilized parcels are transformed, increasing the value of the property and neighboring areas. Communities truly benefit from the revitalization of neighborhoods and promotion of economic and social integration. DePaul is committed to investing in Batavia and the many people in need who benefit from quality housing. For more information; please visit us online at: www.depaul.org

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https://www.thebatavian.com/lisa-ace/sponsored-post-helping-people-in-need-depaul-batavia-square-apartments/266379#comments https://www.thebatavian.com/lisa-ace/sponsored-post-helping-people-in-need-depaul-batavia-square-apartments/266379 May 1, 2017, 3:00pm DePaul Sponsored Post: Helping people in need, DePaul Batavia Square Apartments Lisa Ace <p><a href="https://www.depaul.org"><div> <div class="field field--name-field-media-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img loading="lazy" src="https://www.thebatavian.com/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/users/7438/2017-05/depaulsp.png?itok=CK18B2Z2" width="460" height="311" alt class="image-style-large"> </div> </div> </a><br> <strong>Helping People in Need -- DePaul Batavia Square Apartments<br> </strong>DePaul, a not-for-profit organization established in 1958, is seeking to rezone two East Main Street properties in order to allow construction of 80 units of housing for income-eligible tenants.</p> <p>The affordable apartments would be fully handicap accessible, provide workforce housing and</p>
Planned DePaul complex on East Main draws speakers, pro and con https://www.thebatavian.com/howard-b-owens/planned-depaul-complex-on-east-main-draws-speakers-pro-and-con/262000
depaulhearingapril242017.jpg

A plan to build apartment complexes on East Main Street drew a full house to Monday's City Council meeting, but the project, aimed at people in vulnerable populations, got mixed reviews from the 23 speakers.

The City Council was being asked to move forward a resolution to rezone the properties at 661, 665 and 679 E. Main St. Most of the location is a former State Police barracks.

The area is currently part of an industrial zone. The council is being asked to consider rezoning it to Commercial, or C2.

This would allow the project from DePaul, known as Batavia Square Apartments, to move forward, but it would not mean the project is approved.

City Attorney George Van Nest reminded council members they were being asked to consider a rezoning proposal, not the actual project that inspires the consideration.

“You really need to center on the question, does this zoning change make sense, notwithstanding some of the considerations that may have been out there or questions about other uses or other studies that are not specifically germane to the question of zoning itself," Van Nest said. "The petition is for rezoning that is at the behest of the City Council legislatively.”

There was a public hearing on the rezoning issue, but comments during to hearing had to be just about the rezoning issue. Since many of the 23 speakers at the meeting wanted to talk about more than just zoning, they took to the podium during the public comments section of the council meeting.

About half of the speakers favored the project, and of those, about half worked, have worked for DePaul or were families that have benefitted from DePaul's services.

Opposition came from people concerned about adding more rental apartment units to the city and how that would impact the current population and private-property landlords. They also raised the issue the amount of taxes DePaul would be paying while the new apartments would lead to the use of city services, such as police and fire.

The council voted by a narrow 5-4 margin to move the resolution for the zoning change to its next business meeting.

"If it's to be believed that 50 percent of the residences in the City of Batavia are rentals, then the question is, why do we need more rentals?" Chuck Ruffino said.

He referenced a study being done on the county's housing stock, designed to help planners understand local housing needs. Ruffino said the council shouldn't move forward without more information.

"We really don’t have good information on which to make this decision, because once you make that decision, the agenda is set," he said. "You can’t take it away. It’s done. Thirty years, tax exempt."

Russ Romano raised concerns about the number of rentals already in the community, the need for the housing study to be completed, and the seeming shortage of housing for people in the workforce. He also questioned the wisdom of changing the zoning.

"I question the fact that you can make this change in zoning when it goes against the current zoning law of being zoned industrial," Romano said. "I think it's dangerous and in your comprehensive plan it has not changed."

John Gerace said he doesn't believe anybody in the community is against housing for people on disability or against veterans or seniors, but he did question the need for it now, especially housing that is tax-break subsidized.

He calculated that at $25 million for construction, each of the 80 units would be worth more than $300,000.

"I would like to live in a $325,000 apartment," Gerace said.

Since subsidized rents are available to many potential tenants, Gerace said he's concerned that current landlords will lose out.

"It will be a drain on the local economy, on local landlords who bought property and have been paying property taxes right along and have vacancies right now," Gerace said.

George Galliford said it would be unfair to local landlords to allow this project to move forward.

“It seems to me that it’s very unfair competition for landlords who have been conscientious, paid their taxes, done what they needed to do and are never ever given any kind of favor," Galliford said. "Thirty years is a long time. Those payments in lieu of taxes are to me are a joke. They should be much, much more than what they are. It’s unfair competition."

John Roach said he thought it was premature for the City to move forward with project approval. 

He said the current vacancy rate in the city is 7 percent and that 5 percent is considered ideal. He said the county is projected to lose 9 percent of its population in coming years.

Adding more apartment units will just put more financial pressure on existing landlords, he suggested, and if those properties move off the tax roles, "it will just put more pressure on the rest of us."

The DePaul project also had its defenders.

Stacy Falkowski (top photo), a Batavia resident, said life is getting harder for her elderly parents, especially now that her father has Parkinson's disease. She described the difficulties she and her mother have caring for her father in her parent's current commercial apartment.

She said her father has fallen more than once in the bathroom and they're lucky he hasn't been seriously hurt; no broken bones, but there has been blood to clean up.

“It’s pretty tough to deal with every single day of the month,” she said.

The planned DePaul housing complex, with its amenities for the elderly, the disabled and other vulnerable adults, along with greater social opportunities, would be great for her parents.

Most of the people who would move there, she said, are already local residents and to counter the argument against the lower taxes paid by DePaul, she said our local older residents had earned this sort of amenity.

"These people are paying taxes, and they’ve lived in the City ofBataviaa for many years and paid a lot of taxes, school taxes, property taxes," Falkowski said.

Colleen Gillam, from Waterport, said her 25-year-old son currently lives in a DePaul apartment in Batavia and for the first time in his life, he's living on his own and doing very well. She said for people like her son, the kind of housing DePaul provides is hard to come by.

"I think with this coming into your community it will only benefit you and the families who live here and in the surrounding areas," she said.

Chris Syracuse, a longtime employee of DePaul said when DePaul comes into a community, they do so humbly and with an eye toward building a beautiful facility that the community will be proud to see.

"Never in 27 years have I ever had somebody say to me, ‘I regret DePaul coming into my community,' " Syracuse said.

After the council discussion and before the vote, City Manager Jason Molino addressed some of the issues raised during the meeting.

He said the area had been zoned industrial for 50 years. Before that, it was considered a business district, which is similar to today's commercial zone. Over the past half century, there has been no industrial activity in the area. The train tracks that would have supported industrial activity, and supported the Trojan tractor factory in the area, were removed in the 1960s or 1970s. Over the past 50 years it's been mixed commercial and residential with some light manufacturing.  

During that period, industrial growth in the city has taken place around Graham, Treadeasy, and O-AT-KA, and future industrial growth is more likely to take place in the greenfield developments outside of the city. The East Main Street area of the city isn't likely to attract any industrial development.

"It hasn’t happened in the past 50 years, and it’s not likely to occur in that specific area," he said.

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Mark Fuller, project developer.

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https://www.thebatavian.com/howard-b-owens/planned-depaul-complex-on-east-main-draws-speakers-pro-and-con/262000#comments https://www.thebatavian.com/howard-b-owens/planned-depaul-complex-on-east-main-draws-speakers-pro-and-con/262000 Apr 25, 2017, 4:29pm DePaul Planned DePaul complex on East Main draws speakers, pro and con Howard Owens <p><div> <div class="field field--name-field-media-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img loading="lazy" src="https://www.thebatavian.com/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/users/60/2017-04/depaulhearingapril242017.jpg?itok=n5oAZR4l" width="460" height="307" alt="depaulhearingapril242017.jpg" class="image-style-large"> </div> </div> </p> <p>A plan to build apartment complexes on East Main Street drew a full house to Monday's City Council meeting, but the project, aimed at people in vulnerable populations, got mixed reviews from the 23 speakers.</p> <p>The City Council was being asked to move forward a resolution to rezone the properties</p>
Sponsored Post: Helping people in need, DePaul Batavia Square Apartments https://www.thebatavian.com/lisa-ace/sponsored-post-helping-people-in-need-depaul-batavia-square-apartments/254687

Helping People in Need -- DePaul Batavia Square Apartments
DePaul, a not-for-profit organization established in 1958, is seeking to rezone two East Main Street properties in order to allow construction of 80 units of housing for income-eligible tenants.

The affordable apartments would be fully handicap accessible, provide workforce housing and would serve vulnerable populations including veterans, elderly individuals and persons with special needs who would be linked with supportive services. A spring 2018 construction date is targeted.

DePaul committed last fall to build new facilities in Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties as part of a $2.6 billion statewide plan to develop supportive housing units for vulnerable populations such as the working poor, seniors and veterans. 

Working with SWBR Architects, DePaul has plans for six buildings — two multistory apartment buildings and four sets of town homes placed in half-circles around a central green space. The newest developments in solar technology would be utilized and vegetated “green roofs” would be located over both the two- and three-story, 24-unit buildings with shared laundry facilities in each town home. According to DePaul President Mark Fuller, DePaul is staying on trend with varied design and less density, providing mixed-use, diverse options to populations in need. 

Having access to affordable, quality housing in a neighborhood that is connected to jobs and other amenities makes life better for people. Research demonstrates there is a positive relationship between stable, affordable housing and improved health, increased academic performance and greater economic self-sufficiency. 

Construction of new affordable housing creates a host of jobs, while vacant or underutilized parcels are transformed, increasing the value of the property and neighboring areas. Communities truly benefit from the revitalization of neighborhoods and promotion of economic and social integration. DePaul is committed to investing in Batavia and the many people in need who benefit from quality housing. For more information; please visit us online at: www.depaul.org

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https://www.thebatavian.com/lisa-ace/sponsored-post-helping-people-in-need-depaul-batavia-square-apartments/254687#comments https://www.thebatavian.com/lisa-ace/sponsored-post-helping-people-in-need-depaul-batavia-square-apartments/254687 Apr 12, 2017, 3:00pm DePaul Sponsored Post: Helping people in need, DePaul Batavia Square Apartments Lisa Ace <p><a href="https://www.depaul.org"><div> <div class="field field--name-field-media-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img loading="lazy" src="https://www.thebatavian.com/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/users/7438/2017-04/depaulsp.png?itok=RQBQVGds" width="460" height="311" alt class="image-style-large"> </div> </div> </a></p> <p><strong>Helping People in Need -- DePaul Batavia Square Apartments<br> </strong>DePaul, a not-for-profit organization established in 1958, is seeking to rezone two East Main Street properties in order to allow construction of 80 units of housing for income-eligible tenants.</p> <p>The affordable apartments would be fully handicap accessible, provide workforce housing and</p>
DePaul president says project is a matter of 'giving back' to the community; Council sets public hearing for April 24 https://www.thebatavian.com/mike-pettinella/depaul-president-says-project-is-a-matter-of-giving-back-to-the-community-council
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DePaul President Mark Fuller says the proposed DePaul Batavia Square Apartments on East Main Street, an 80-unit complex for income-eligible tenants, is his way of giving back to the community that he calls home.

"I grew up in Warsaw, went to RIT, and worked at Eaton, Yale & Towne before finding out I didn't like what I was doing," said Fuller, opening a presentation about the project at Monday night's Batavia City Council meeting.

"I then worked for the county, met my wife, Michele (Rapone), and we've been married for almost 40 years. My kids went to Notre Dame and I live in Le Roy, I'm Genesee County through and through."

Fuller, along with DePaul Vice President Gillian Conde, attorneys Ashley Champion and Jonathan Penna, and architect Joe Gibbons, shared details of their plan with Council, which later passed a resolution -- with Alfred McGinnis casting the lone "no" vote -- to introduce a necessary ordinance to change the zoning in the vicinity of the Batavia Gardens apartments (661, 665 and 679 E. Main St.) from Industrial to Commercial and to set a public hearing on the matter for April 24.

Champion pointed out that DePaul was in agreement with the Batavia Planning & Development Committee's recommendation to change from Industrial to Commercial zoning (not the original proposal of Industrial to Residential) to "more closely align with the goals and perspectives of the city's Comprehensive Plan."

But the theme of the video presentation -- which included photos of other DePaul renovation projects and testimonials from three residents of the Rochester-based company's Batavia Apartments on East Main Street near Eastown Plaza -- was that, according to Fuller, "there is a huge need for affordable housing in Batavia."

He said that New York State has identified Genesee County as needing affordable housing and has allocated $3.2 billion across the state for projects such as these. Residents of Batavia Square, should it come to fruition, would receive services to meet special needs and be charged rent based on income limits, for example, $27,000 for an individual and $38,700 for a family of four.

"Every project fills within two to three weeks, and we have huge waiting lists on all of our projects," he said.

Fuller said he is convinced the Batavia community will support the venture, which will include DePaul applying for financial incentives -- PILOTs or payment in lieu of taxes -- from the Genesee County Economic Development Center.

"What’s amazing is – I talked to Kiwanis last week, I’m speaking to Rotary in a couple weeks and I’ve been out meeting with everybody in the community – to a person, everybody wants the project," Fuller said. 

"The history of DePaul, we’ve got a great reputation in Batavia, and I’m really doing this because people approached me and wanted more housing in Batavia. The lack of adequate, handicap-accessible housing for special needs and everything else (is there), so I’m really doing this to give back to Genesee County – my hometown."

Of the 80 units, 36 have been designated as affordable units with preference given to elderly people and/or people with mobility disabilities, four are set at market rate, 30 are for people with special needs linked to services, and 10 will be allocated for veterans.

Fuller said that comments that DePaul is making money off of veterans or doesn't need the tax breaks stem from those who "don't know the whole story."

"We’re getting no money to house veterans. We’re just setting aside 10 units (as priority for veterans) and it could be more if there’s 20 veterans … we’re setting 10 units aside to guarantee because our housing projects fill in 10 days."

As far as the PILOT is concerned, Fuller said DePaul would be unable to get involved without it.

"These projects would not be doable without a PILOT with the city, but it’s important to point out that we’re a not-for-profit but we’re still giving a significant tax payment to the city for 30 years – more than four times than what they’re getting for that property now."

Fuller said the development will create 18 jobs as well as another 200 construction jobs.

Gibbons outlined details of the complex -- a 5-acre parcel with 24 units in Building A, 24 units in a three-story Buildilng B, and 32 units divided into four eight-unit two-story townhouses. The plan calls for 56 one-bedroom, 22 two-bedroom and four three-bedroom apartments and 94 parking spaces (which could be expanded).

"It will be highly energy efficient through Energy Star and NYSERDA programs, and typically 50 percent will be handicapped-accessible," he said.

Conde said that rent will be set at $700 for a one-bedroom unit and $850 for a two-bedroom apartment, but residents have to show an income to be eligible. Utilities, wireless Internet and cable TV are included, along with around-the-clock staffing and a sophisticated security system.

She added that "housing specialists" are on staff to help link tenants to services in the community, but before being accepted all applicants "receive extensive background checks" -- with those convicted of non-DWI felonies or sex offenders not eligible.

"We manage our own tenant list ... that's a huge piece toward having respectful communities," she said.

The DePaul team said it will be meeting once again with the Genesee County Planning Board later this week over the rezoning issue, and hopes for a positive outcome over the next several weeks with City Council.

"This is really just the first start – the hard part is getting the money out of Albany," Fuller said. "We certainly have done it a lot, we’ve got the project in the works, we’ve been told this is a high priority. Our goal would be to have that all in place by the winter so we can start construction in early spring 2018, and that’s about a two-year construction period."

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https://www.thebatavian.com/mike-pettinella/depaul-president-says-project-is-a-matter-of-giving-back-to-the-community-council#comments https://www.thebatavian.com/mike-pettinella/depaul-president-says-project-is-a-matter-of-giving-back-to-the-community-council Apr 10, 2017, 10:39pm DePaul DePaul president says project is a matter of 'giving back' to the community; Council sets public hearing for April 24 mikepett <p><div> <div class="field field--name-field-media-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img loading="lazy" src="https://www.thebatavian.com/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/users/129907/2017-04/square_1.jpg?itok=33N4Vigv" width="460" height="255" alt="square_1.jpg" class="image-style-large"> </div> </div> </p> <p><div> <div class="field field--name-field-media-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img loading="lazy" src="https://www.thebatavian.com/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/users/129907/2017-04/units_1.jpg?itok=oaC0jO06" width="460" height="262" alt="units_1.jpg" class="image-style-large"> </div> </div> </p> <p>DePaul President Mark Fuller says the proposed DePaul Batavia Square Apartments on East Main Street, an 80-unit complex for income-eligible tenants, is his way of giving back to the community that he calls home.</p> <p>"I grew up in Warsaw, went to RIT, and worked at Eaton, Yale &amp; Towne before</p>