TOWN OF DICKINSON, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – Residents of a Town of Dickinson neighborhood are suspicious about why SUNY Broome is purchasing a wooded hillside above them, but the school insists it has no current plans to develop it.

Homeowners along HIckory Road, John Street and other portions of the Chenango Shores neighborhood say they wondered what was up when logging began on the Boland family property that sits uphill of their homes.

Residents checked into town meeting minutes in which town officials are recorded saying that the nearby college is buying roughly 75 acres with a plan at some point to build townhouses for student housing.

So, the neighbors formed a group called Citizens Against Redeveloping Our Neighborhood, or CARON 2.0.

The residents says developing the site would worsen stormwater runoff which has already caused flooding in the area on 4 occasions over the past 17 years.

Plus, they say student housing would ruin the nature of their neighborhood.

Kate Burke-Zindle says, “We are concerned about increases in traffic, damage to the roads, noise pollution, light pollution, and the safety of the overall neighborhood. And the integrity of it, just the way it would change things.”

SUNY Broome President Kevin Drumm says there are no plans to build anything on the land right now.

He says the Boland family approached the college with an offer to sell and the school’s Board of Trustees and Broome County decided to purchase it for no more than $425,000 dollars.

Drumm believes the trustees and county officials may want to control the property in the event the college ever needs to expand.

But right now, Drumm says the dorm they built several years ago is only two thirds full.

“If we expand our student housing, it will be right out here, either adjacent to or an annex to our existing student housing. That’s always been the plan before we ever put a shovel in the ground. It would be wonderful if we had that problem that we needed to expand our student housing. There’s no demand today to expand student housing, in fact we have to get back to filling the housing that we have.”

Drumm says the college has nothing to do with the logging, which the current owners are doing.

Dickinson Supervisor Mike Marinaccio says he opposes plans to develop the hillside because of flooding and traffic concerns.

But he says the town has little say in the matter as SUNY Broome will not be subject to zoning rules once it buys the land.

Burke-Zindle complains that residents were not informed of the pending sale and had to find out on their own.

They plan to attend a town board meeting scheduled for 6 tonight.

Drumm says he’ll also be there to answer any questions residents might have.