Frequently Asked Questions
What is Rehabilitation Support Services, Inc.?
Rehabilitation Support Services, Inc. (RSS) is a not-for-profit agency that has been operating in Otsego County since 1988. RSS is recognized as one of New York’s premier providers of affordable housing, having developed units that serve more than 1,400 individuals in 11 upstate New York counties. RSS is also recognized as a leader in delivering community-based mental health and substance abuse recovery programs and services.
Is RSS actively engaged in Oneonta and Otsego County?
Yes. RSS has been an active and committed community partner and service provider in the City of Oneonta and Otsego County for more than 30 years. Read more about our deep involvement in the community by clicking here.
Why is this project necessary?
The Riverside Apartments will provide affordable housing that is critically needed in the Oneonta area, as outlined in several recent studies. In 2018, Novogradac & Company LLP determined “there is ample demand for additional affordable housing throughout all market areas; we recommend utilizing a potential development site close to downtown Oneonta to attract tenants that would income-qualify for the unrestricted market rate units as well as affordable units. Further, given the high number of foreclosures in the Otsego County market and a lack of facilities available for the homeless in the area, it appears there is a need for additional supportive housing.” And, in 2017, a survey conducted by Opportunities for Otsego for its Community Needs Assessment found that 84% of respondents believed “housing is a problem in our area,” with 77% citing the “cost of rent and housing payments” as an issue in Otsego County. Additional information, including summary reports, can be found here. Additionally, the project will provide supported housing that will address an identified community need.
Has RSS been transparent in communicating the details of this project with the public? If so, how?
Absolutely. We have undertaken a number of steps to share and discuss the specifics of, need for, and benefits of this project. Beginning in the fall of 2018, we have reached out to and met with numerous elected officials, community leaders, local organizations, residents and others, and we continue to do so on a regular basis. We have presented our plans publicly on multiple occasions before the city planning commission, and in fact, redesigned the project as a boulevard concept to be respectful of input received at those meetings. In addition, we have discussed our plans with several reporters and media outlets, and we have set up a website, www.riversideoneonta.com, which features comprehensive details about the project, including a site plan and architectural renderings, as well as contact information for those with questions.
Will Riverside Apartments pay property taxes?
Yes. Affordable housing is assessed under Real Property Tax Law 581-A. Developers and municipalities may agree to a PILOT for administrative ease.
Where is RSS in the approval process?
The proposed project is allowed as-of-right within the current zoning of the parcel. The project will require site plan and lot consolidation approval from the City Planning Commission, which is currently reviewing the plans.
What would rent be like?
Monthly rents for the one-bedroom apartments will be $520; for the two-bedroom apartments, from $550 to $920; and for the three-bedroom apartments, from $750 to $1,067. Rents include hot water; tenants will pay for heat and electric.
How will this residential community be designed?
Riverside Apartments are designed as a boulevard concept, with a single street connecting to the existing street grid. Multiple two-story buildings are proposed to most closely integrate with the surrounding properties. One of the unique aspects of the project involves the construction of a community building, which features a community room, laundry facilities, and offices for property management staff.
Will this project increase traffic in the area?
While there will be some additional traffic, its impact will be minimal. Using the industry-standard Trip Generation Manual developed by The Institute of Transportation Engineers, the project is expected to generate between 31 and 40 additional weekday trips during peak morning and evening hours. These figures are included in the project plans we have submitted to the City of Oneonta. It is also important to note that the project’s location in close proximity to public transportation will further mitigate the traffic impact.
Will this project necessitate a redistricting within the school district?
There is no expectation that this project will require any redistricting within the Oneonta City School District.
How long will the project take to complete?
Once we receive approval, we estimate it will take approximately 18 months to complete construction.
Where can I find a description of the project?
A comprehensive description of the project, as well as renderings and other relevant documents, can be found here.
There will be some apartments for people who are in recovery. What is the difference between rehabilitation and recovery?
Rehabilitation involves extensive therapy, which addresses behaviors, helps individuals get to the core reasons behind their addictions, and is one of the first steps on their road to recovery. This project does not involve rehabilitation, but is designed to provide support to individuals in recovery, which is a lifelong process. Recovery requires ongoing work and attention, so lifelong support is essential.
Where will the recovery apartments be located?
The apartments for individuals in recovery from a substance use disorder will be integrated within each of the buildings proposed for the project. It is anticipated that some individuals will have families with children, so multiple bedroom units will be available. There will be 3.5 FTE staff dedicated to providing support for these individuals.
Where will the individuals who are in recovery come from? Within this area, or outside the area?
All individuals considered for these apartments will be identified and referred by the Otsego County Office of Community Services’ Single Point of Access (SPOA) program. The individuals involved in the SPOA process are known to the community and, in most cases, have been involved with various support services available within our community. The SPOA committee is very knowledgeable of these individuals and their needs.
Why is this the right location for the project?
The project site is located adjacent to a mix of single-family, multi-family and commercial uses. The site is on an existing bus route that operates Monday through Saturday, into the evening hours. It is within walking distance to two urgent care centers and a 20-minute walk to Main Street. And, the site is 1.6 miles to the Southside (Route 28), where a major grocery store, retail shopping, various big box stores, chain restaurants, and a shopping mall are located.
Rather than constructing new apartments, why not instead rehabilitate the dozens of vacant houses in Oneonta?
There are several reasons. It is much more cost effective to build new housing, rather than attempting to rehabilitate properties that have fallen into disrepair. We will have significantly more control over the design and construction process, which will mean an expedited construction timeline, higher quality, and more efficient and safer units. Additionally, in building a development, our intent is to create a strong sense of community, while also integrating appropriately with the adjacent neighborhood. Finally, several of the funding sources being used to support this project typically require housing to be located in the same general neighborhood, with adjoining/adjacent streets.
In the future, is it possible for RSS to convert the Riverside Apartments into a rehabilitation facility?
No. Not only does RSS intend to operate the Riverside Apartments as proposed, but in addition, the terms of the public funding being sought for this project require that it be operated as proposed for the next 50 years.
How can I receive more information about the Riverside Apartments project?
Please contact RSS by using our online contact form, or call us at (518) 464-1511.