July 20, 2010

Varna 20-20

Varna residents came together a few times over the last few weeks to outline a vision for the hamlet. This document is the result of the June 21st meeting, and was sent out to all participants. It's a worthy addition to the library of Varna planning.


Meeting held at Varna Community Center 6/21/2010


38 Varna residents and business owners attended a meeting to discuss what they would like to see for Varna over the next 10 to 20 years. The meeting included residents from a large cross-section of local neighborhoods including Hillside Acres, Turkey Hill, Freese Rd, Mt Pleasant and Observatory Circle and Dryden Rd (Rt 366) stretching from the 800's to 1200's with most of the residents coming from the 900's section of Dryden Rd.

Overall, residents felt some gradual development that did not ruin the current rural character of the community would be acceptable. Development should be based on "smart growth principles" with an emphasis on gathering places for adults and children, pedestrian and bike safety, affordable and attractive, owner-occupied single family homes with a focus on walkable neighborhoods and an ability to congregate at coffee/ice cream shops and eating places so that neighbors can reconnect with other neighbors in the hamlet.


Residents of Varna felt the following would promote a cohesive community:

  • Connectivity--elements such as safe walkable neighborhoods (including sidewalks & bike paths), playgrounds and places for adults to congregate, participation in volunteer events and support for local institutions: fire company, community center and church

  • Investment in Community -elements that include increasing owner-occupied single family dwellings, well-kept up properties that promote an aesthetically pleasing environment (including house lots with yards), affordable housing promoting a range of options for different income levels and age groups

  • A well-integrated community--welcoming newcomers (e.g. welcome basket for new home owners), long-term residents (both owners and renters who are invested in the community), promoting a community that families find attractive ("kids make a community")

  • Safe Environment--neighborhood watches, pedestrian safety (including traffic calming, light at intersection of Freese and Mt Pleasant and pedestrian cross-walks at bus stops)


Residents considered the kind of businesses and possible location that would fit with the Varna hamlet and that could be supported by locals and drive-by traffic:

  • Mini-Mart (place to purchase small essential items such as milk/bread), coffee shop (sit-down for local conversation), ice-cream shop, pizza-takeout, small scale shops rather than big commercial stores, most of above might be combined offerings in a few small businesses.

  • Farmer's Market

  • Stores with professional offices and/or residential units on second floor

  • Small Day-Care Center

  • Adequate off-street parking

  • Primary location for most commercial would be at cross-road of Freese and Mt Pleasant Roads


  • Promoting pedestrian safety through the addition of sidewalks, curbing and bike lanes on Rt 366 are important as traffic calming measures

  • Completing trails linking the Dryden Trail system to the Ithaca trail system for walkers and bikers both for recreation and commuting to Cornell; upgrading the trail linking the Community Center to Hillside Acres

  • Improving bus transport by having a pickup in winter for residents in Hillside Acres

  • Improving and weatherizing bus stops

  • Cross-walks on 366 to safely reach bus stops

  • Coffee shop within walking distance of core density area


  • Traffic light at Freese and Mt Pleasant to prmote safety at that busy intersection

  • Park and Ride to Cornell and improved bus service at times other than peak hours

  • Traffic Calming measures on Rt 366

  • Measures to manage/control increased truck traffic

  • Speed checks and increased enforcement of lower speed limit

  • Cross-walks at existing bus stops


  • Sizing growth in relation to utilities (e.g. sewer and water capacity)--concerns were expressed about overtaxing the current system and who would pay for additional capacity

  • Gradual growth, possibly 50-100 units over 10 years with density limited to 4 units/acre; 200 units over ten years was difficult for residents to envision as acceptable

  • Distributed Growth: new development spread throughout the community

  • New units should be individualized in appearance to avoid bland sameness

  • Housing that is attractive for Cornell faculty and staff to promote long-term residents

  • Growth is OK, but doubling size of Varna in ten years is "over the top"

  • Growth needs to consider adequate storm water management--some areas are already problematic (e.g. the area behind the church)

Posted by simon at July 20, 2010 7:35 AM in ,
Note on photos