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Residents near proposed Ives Hill apartments muster opposition

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A small group of residents already is organizing efforts to try to stop the proposed 529-unit apartment complex on nine holes at the Ives Hill Country Club golf course.

County Route 65 resident Patricia V. Signor intends to start circulating a petition in opposition of the housing project that developer P.J. Simao proposed two weeks ago. She and her husband, Kevin J. Signor, also have hired an attorney to see what they can do to block the project.

The couple and Mr. Signor’s brother, Patrick A. Signor, another County Route 65 resident, attended the Watertown Town Council meeting Thursday night to find out about the status of the project from council members.

Afterward, Mrs. Signor said that residents overwhelmingly oppose the project, which would feature 529 units on 63 acres of land in the town of Watertown and 32 two-story duplex units on 16 acres of city property.

Opponents fear it would lower the value of their property.

“I don’t know anyone, in the town or in the city, who wants it,” Mrs. Signor said.

Mr. Simao, who did not attend Thursday’s Town Council meeting, said later that he is trying to save the original nine holes of the golf course by proposing development of the other nine. He also wants to “protect his investment,” just as Patrick Signor told town officials two weeks ago. Mr. Simao said he also has hired legal representation.

“They certainly are entitled to do what they want to do,” he said Thursday night in response to Mrs. Signor’s comments. “Let the chips fall where they may.”

During the meeting, town Supervisor Joel R. Bartlett would not comment, saying that Mr. Simao has yet to submit a formal application and presented only a “sketch plan” at the Dec. 3 town of Watertown Planning Board meeting. The Town Council made no decision on the plan Thursday night.

The project will have to go through a series of public hearings at the town and city levels, Mr. Bartlett said. It also would have to obtain either a variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals or a zoning change from the Town Council.

Preliminary plans call for the development to be similar to the 394-unit apartment complex recently begun by Morgan Management LLC, Rochester, on County Route 202. Route 57 Development LLC, owned by Mr. Simao, sold 57 acres to Morgan for the project.

At the Dec. 3 Planning Board meeting, members also heard a much less controversial proposal by Mr. Simao for the construction of a 5,000-square-foot Nice N Easy convenience store on a 1.5-acre portion of the former Bomax site.

Construction for the convenience store could begin in May, following an environmental investigation of the site. That project did not come up at Thursday’s Town Council meeting.

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