VESTAL, NY – A contentious proposed housing development in Vestal will be the subject of another public hearing Wednesday evening.

Following the hearing, the board may chose to vote again on rezoning a stretch of land along Bunn Hill Road from rural-residential to a Planned Development District.

Landmark Properties of Atlanta wants to create The Retreat at Bunn Hill which would consist of 161 detached homes across 43 acres.

Some neighbors have been vocal opponents of the plan, arguing that it would create a traffic problem, increase water runoff along their properties and ruin the idyllic rural setting of the area.

Organizer Victor Lamoureux, who lives a quarter mile down the road from the proposed project, says hundreds of Vestal residents from across the town have made their opposition known and yet the town board members won’t listen to their concerns.

Opponent Victor Lamoureux says, “This is basically a spot zone. This is something being put up here for just one developer. It doesn’t benefit the overall community. It is student housing which has been shown not to be necessary anymore in this area. The Broome County housing study declared that that was not the case. We do not need more student housing.”

Vestal Supervisor John Schaffer, who has voted in favor of the project in the past, says the development is being marketed to more than just Binghamton University students.

He says young professionals and traveling medical personnel have expressed an interest in the housing.

And he says the project would bring an additional $15 million in tax revenue to the county, $1.5 million to the town.

Vestal Supervisor John Schaffer says, “If the college purchases the land, which they’re buying everything up that way, it’s off the tax roll. Whether anybody likes it or not, everything’s dollars and cents. Vestal has the lowest tax rate in the county right now and I want t maintain it that way. I’ve maintained that for the 12 years I’ve been supervisor.”

Schaffer also says that Bunn Hill can easily handle the additional traffic and that the Army Corps of Engineers have signed off on the water runoff mitigation plan.

The project is back before the board after residents sued and a state supreme court judge ruled that the town’s state environmental quality review study was flawed and ordered the process to start over.

Schaffer says Wednesday’s public hearing at 6 p.m. will be available audio-only over Zoom and that only 4 to 6 residents will be allowed into the board room due to COVID concerns.

Here’s a link to the meeting.