Town board OKs housing project

The Preserve at Autumn Ridge, 14630 Autumn Ridge Lane, is looking to expand east, crossing County Route 202 for housing development in Watertown. Kara Dry/Watertown Daily Times

WATERTOWN — A Pittsford company on Tuesday afternoon got the green light to move forward with a 357-unit townhouse complex off Route 202 that was first proposed seven years ago.

The town of Watertown Planning Board unanimously approved the site plans for the project, which will be completed in two phases over several years.

It was a surprise in August when Morgan Management came forward after so many years to dust off the drawings and propose the same project it had first proposed for military housing for Fort Drum.

Mark R. Costich, chief executive officer for Costich Engineering, Rochester, said he did not know the history of why the project was first proposed for Fort Drum. Nor did he know why the project didn’t proceed.

However, he said there’s a need for additional rental units now.

“There’s market demand,” he said.

Construction will probably have to wait until next spring to start, he said. The complex will be built on a 47.58-acre site behind the Walmart on Route 3.

The first phase will consist of 214 one- to three-bedroom apartments constructed over several years, followed by 143 others, also over several years.

During the 20-minute discussion, planning board member C. Randy Vaas wanted assurance from Mr. Costich that it “was exactly the same project” as before. Mr. Costich noted it was stated in a letter of intent from Morgan Management.

Planners also expressed some concern about a sidewalk along Route 202 that will line up with the other rental development that exists on the other side of Route 202.

The site plans for the proposed complex are about the same as that 394-unit Autumn Ridge complex.

In 2019, Morgan Management — one of the biggest developers in Western New York — got into legal trouble when founder and Chief Executive Officer Robert C. Morgan and six other company officers were indicted on sweeping federal charges, alleging bank and wire fraud, money laundering and conspiracy.

Mr. Morgan was indicted, along with his son, Todd Morgan, real estate broker Frank Giacobbe and Frank Tremiti, a former director of finance at Morgan Management. The case is still pending in federal court.

Two other people, including Mr. Morgan’s nephew Kevin Morgan and the company’s former Chief Operating Officer Scott Creswell pleaded guilty to the charges.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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