SEUNA History: 1973 to 2010
In the more than three decades since its formation, the
Southeast University Neighborhood Association has helped
to establish the Euclid Community Open House (ECOH) and the University
Neighborhood Preservation Association (UNPA).
We’ve lobbied for stronger legislation to protect residents, and
we’ve secured private funding for the neighborhood.
SEUNA members and officers have gone on to positions at the city,
county, and state levels.
SEUNA members and officers have gone on to positions at the city, county, and state levels.
In 1973 a group of concerned neighbors formed a group to not only represent the neighborhood on various mayor’s councils and task forces but to articulate the pride they had in the diversity of the area. That enthusiasm has remained constant and that pride in diversity remains.
Sometimes it seems that our perennial issues – housing code, zoning problems, noise and density issues – have kept our focus too narrow. But other concerns that affect our neighborhood – education, daycare, the environment, community celebrations – have also become synonymous with SEUNA.
SEUNA has inspired masters’ theses and won accolades from local politicians and community groups for our persistence. We’ve had bake sales and garage sales and summer festivals – just like so many other organizations – and we’ve made a difference in the quality of the residential life for over 2500 households.
Best wishes and much luck to us and our neighborhood for the next thirty years and beyond!
The South East
University Neighborhood Association is formed with the mission to
promote a high quality urban residential neighborhood in the area
⌂ SEUNA publishes “Come See Our Neighborhood”, a brochure aimed at interesting University and medical center employees in home ownership in the area.
⌂ SEUNA is selected as the neighborhood representative for the area at the Mayor’s Accent Neighborhood Council. The council was formed to work on housing code enforcement and zoning issues, as well as publishing educational information about each unique City neighborhood.
⌂ SEUNA meets with local banks to promote the availability of mortgage money for owner-occupancy of homes in the neighborhood.
⌂ SEUNA supports a City zoning code amendment limiting the number of unrelated people living in single family homes as it constitutes a boarding-house arrangement. Board members commented that too many investors were exploiting the aged, the poor, and students at the expense of the neighborhood.
⌂ The East Side Neighborhood Organization (ESNO) is established in the are adjoining SEUNA’s eastern edge.
⌂ The Syracuse Real Food Co-Op opens.
⌂ SEUNA and other groups meet to establish a community center in the firehouse recently vacated at the corner of Euclid and Westcott; funding is made available and the Euclid Community Open House (ECOH) is organized.
⌂ Syracuse University, because of the growing number of students, begins to encourage students to live off-campus and relaxes its sophomore residency requirement; SU forms the Alternative Action Service (ALTERACTS) as it collects information on all homes in the area in order to “influence the policies of Syracuse University, the City of Syracuse, and private landlords in such a way as to alleviate the acute housing problem in the Syracuse University area…”; SEUNA board members feel the service will merely be used to facilitate the exodus of students from cramped SU housing since there is NOT believed to be a housing shortage in the neighborhood.
⌂ SEUNA actively opposes the sale and/or development of the SU-owned Hookway Tract, as it is rumored the University is making plans to develop the area and is investigating offers from a grocery chain for the purchase of the property; SU also begins to sell its property east of campus to absentee landlords, ignoring SEUNA’s attempt at assisting the University in finding owner-occupants for the properties.
⌂ SEUNA, which had joined the University Hill Corporation, decides that the alliance is not beneficial to the residential area it represents and withdraws its membership.
⌂ SEUNA publishes an informal guide to home energy efficiency; it also urges residents to get to know one another after a jump in the number of burglaries in the area; a neighborhood “crime patrol” is formed.
⌂ SEUNA congratulates ECOH as it takes up residency in the old firehouse.
⌂ The Hookway Tract is sought after as a site for a grocery store; zoning would have to be changed from A-1 residential to commercial; SEUNA steps into the fight against this change.
⌂ A zoning change is proposed for an area currently used as community gardens at the corner of Comstock and Colvin; a proposed 150-unit, 225-car apartment complex is on the drawing board; SEUNA vigorously opposes this zoning change.
⌂ SEUNA begins to publish a listing of ECOH activities, as well as other “goings on” in the area (such as library hours, concerts, and park programs) as part of its newsletter in an effort to continually communicate the benefits of living in the area to residents and potential residents.
⌂ SEUNA continues to oppose the proposed development of the Hookway Tract, as well as keeping up efforts to force compliance of absentee landlords to the housing and zoning codes.
A trash-burning steam
plant is proposed for
petition the city to maintain
⌂ SEUNA and ECOH collaborate to establish a Housing Committee, which assists neighbors in contacting the appropriate City department to assist with problems as well as provide information on federal, state, and local programs to aid homeowners.
SEUNA urges the
County to consider mandatory recycling rather than proceeding with a
cost-inefficient steam plant at
⌂ A domed, multi-purpose stadium is proposed to occupy the site of the current Archibold Stadium; SEUNA urges environmental impact and traffic flow studies for this project, as the neighborhood is looked to as the “parking facility” for the new stadium.
⌂ CETA funds enable the City to establish “Project Care”; homes that display an excellent outside appearance receive a certificate of appreciation; homes that need minor repairs are noted, and those homes that are in obvious violation of codes are cited; the SEUNA neiborhood is one of the first City areas to be reviewed.
⌂ SEUNA incorporates.
⌂ The City agrees with SEUNA that the University’s initial draft of the environmental impact statement greatly underestimates the Dome’s requirements for police protection, traffic enforcement, parking, and emergency access provisions; it is proposed that a surcharge be placed on each event ticket to offset these costs; SEUNA awaits more traffic and parking information from SU.
An alternative site
⌂ SEUNA joins a task force whose goal is to develop a planned residential district in an effort to stem serious density problems in the University area.
⌂ The Dome at Syracuse University opens and traffic and parking problems in the SEUNA area abound – many streets with no or alternate-side parking are lined with cars on both sides; SEUNA steps up suggestions for mandatory parking at designated SU lots, which remain two-thirds empty.
⌂ SEUNA publishes ads in the local community papers outlining travel and parking routes to the Dome; SEUNA also supports discussion of rebuilding a rail line from the University to other parts of the City to facilitate travel to campus.
⌂ SEUNA annual dues rise to $3.
⌂ SEUNA organizes the first Summerfest at Barry Park.
⌂ SEUNA supports residents west of the new Dome in their fight against SU’s plans to tear down properties in an effort to create new parking lots; SU is successful.
⌂ SEUNA is awarded the CNY Women in Communications annual award for “most effective newsletter”.
⌂ The City instructs the police force to enforce the noise ordinances; SEUNA has been actively pursuing this for a number of years.
SEUNA petitions the
City for a traffic light at the intersection of Comstock and
⌂ A Syracuse University graduate student in anthropology publishes “Coming of Age in SEUNA: A Case Study of Neighbors and Neighborhood Action”.
⌂ SEUNA celebrates 10 years of community action and expands its boundaries.
⌂ SEUNA revises and republishes the “Come See Our Neighborhood” brochure.
⌂ The Westcott East Neighborhood Associations (WENA) is established in the former ESNO area.
⌂ The Thornden Park Association is established.
SEUNA is instrumental
in the creation of the Onondaga County Solid Waste Environmental
Commission, whose role will be to oversee all environmental aspects of
the soon-to-be-constructed trash-burning steam plant at
⌂ The number of students at SU shows a slight decline, which mirrors a nationwide trend of declining student populations.
⌂ Several SEUNA blocks organize Neighborhood Watch groups as crimes, including violent crime, seem to be on the increase.
⌂ SU announces it plans to build a steam cogeneration plant on south campus; SEUNA plans to monitor the progress of yet another possible source of toxic pollution in the neighborhood.
⌂ The Sherman Park Neighborhood Association re-forms.
⌂ Housing prices soar in the neighborhood as landlords out-bid each other for homes to add to their portfolios; SEUNA pushes the Common Council to establish full-value tax assessment in order to level the playing field.
SEUNA expands for a
second time in 13 years, adding the area bordered by
⌂ SU and SEUNA discuss the impact of the proposed high-technology center targeted for an area currently occupied by fraternities; SU plans to relocate them within its existing boundaries and will not close any streets in order to provide easier access or additional parking.
⌂ SEUNA joins neighbors opposed to a 14-unit apartment in the empty lot at the corner of Colvin and Comstock; SEUNA proposed the five acres remain residential and that single and two-family homes be built there instead.
⌂ SEUNA approaches the City with its plan to designate the neighborhood as a planned residential district; a commercial-rate tax is also proposed for those properties not owner-occupied.
The steam plant
proposed for Skytop is turned down and SU looks to build on the site at
⌂ The SEUNA newsletter switches its format in order to eliminate the “social calendar”, since there is now a duplication in this effort between the community newspapers and local groups.
⌂ Syracuse University invites SEUNA to meetings with the City as it announces its Planned Institutional District; SU also acknowledges it hopes to acquire a number of streets immediately adjacent to its boundaries that adjoin the SEUNA neighborhood in an attempt to provide better safety to its students; SEUNA sees the PID and the street closing proposal as merely SU’s attempt to grow its territory in its limited urban setting.
Directly because of
lobbying efforts of SEUNA members,
⌂ SEUNA members successfully recruit neighborhood Common Councilors to halt the illegal burning of infectious waste at the Oakwood Cemetery Crematorium; a few hundred tractor-trailer loads of waste have been burned and thousands of syringes have been found on the grounds surrounding the crematorium.
⌂ As the three-way conversations between the University, the City, and SEUNA continue as an organized forum, SEUNA continues to push for SU to accept responsibility for students residing off campus and for the City to enforce the zoning and code laws that have been ignored for years.
⌂ SEUNA and SU jointly produce a brochure entitled “It’s Your Neighborhood” in an effort to educate off-campus students on the City laws about noise, garbage, parking, and pets.
⌂ The Planning Commission announces amendments to the City zoning regulations as a direct result of years of lobbying by SEUNA and its membership.
⌂ Due to constant lobbying by SEUNA, the City modifies its housing code violation procedures in order to streamline their process.
⌂ SEUNA members initiate a task force and invite Thornden Park Association and WENA members to assist in the establishment of a corporation whose sole purpose is to promote home ownership in the neighborhood; the group hopes to accept and distribute funds to prospective home buyers to offset the costs of converting illegal boarding houses back into single-family homes.
⌂ SU approaches the Common Council with its second PID request in the past twelve months, this time targeting the Manley Field House area; SEUNA lobbies against the initial proposal and because of this, suggestions on external lighting, sound buffers, and the like are incorporated into the plan.
⌂ SEUNA approaches SU with articles documenting successful university-sponsored mortgage programs at other campuses across the country; SU promises to investigate the programs.
⌂ SEUNA’s efforts to enact legislation again pays off when the City orders police to ticket and tow cars parked on front and side lawns, and on sidewalks.
⌂ SEUNA members challenge the license renewal applications of both SU radio stations, as it has been proven that their signals interfere with local radio and television reception; SU denies the interference.
⌂ SEUNA is successful again in convincing the City to modify zoning laws, as a new family definition is established for non-owner occupied properties; common space in homes in increased from 30 percent to 35 percent’ a planned residential district (PRD) is defined and the mechanisms for acquiring PRD status are established.
⌂ Because of the continual decline in the student population, SU revises its campus residency rules again and decides to require that sophomores live on campus; SEUNA applauds this adjustment in policy.
⌂ As the City agrees to lease streets adjoining SU to the University, SEUNA successfully lobbies for $250,000 in annual payments to the City as recognition of the impact the University has on the neighborhood.
⌂ The University Neighborhood Preservation Association (UNPA) forms out of the SEUNA, WENA, and Thornden Park Association task force to “buy back the neighborhood”.
⌂ UNPA receives $150,000 from the street closing funds to begin providing grants to prospective owner-occupants of homes in the neighborhood.
⌂ SU’s payment will also cover $75,000 for an additional housing code inspector and $80,000 for a dedicated patrol car for the neighborhood, all due to intensive lobbying by SEUNA.
⌂ SEUNA, which had written the first draft of the legislation that outlined the characteristics of a special neighborhood district that was adopted by the Common Council, invites WENA to join in defining the geographic boundaries of the district; the City’s very first Special Neighborhood District is established overlaying both the SEUNA and the WENA neighborhoods.
⌂ Absentee landlords, who had formed their own lobbying group called Syracuse Property Owner’s Association (SPOA) vow to sue the City for this new legislation; SPOA feels that their investment portfolios are at risk as the neighborhood tries to rebuild itself as the residential area it has always been designated.
⌂ SEUNA asks the City to investigate the possibility of deputizing individuals and charge them with the responsibility of citing parking violations, as been done with medical center security personnel; the City agrees to investigate this proposal.
⌂ The South East University Neighborhood Association celebrates its 20th anniversary.
⌂ After a two-year trial period, the City agrees to transfer ownership of the temporarily closed streets to SU; SEUNA immediately intercedes and demands that the University continue to acknowledge its impact on the neighborhood by continuing to make payments; although more money is requested based on a student headcount formula, SU agrees to pay $250,000 annually for 20 years.
⌂ SEUNA again writes draft legislation that the neighborhood Councilors propose to the Common Council; legislation is passed that establishes the University Neighborhood Service Agreement Advisory Committee (UNSAAC) which will recommend to the City and the Council how the annual Service Agreement money should be distributed.
⌂ The Syracuse Board of Zoning Appeals turns down a number of requests by absentee landlords to maintain their properties; these requests are contrary to the Special District legislation and are therefore denied Certificates of Suitability; SEUNA testifies at these hearings.
⌂ Sales of former absentee-owned homes to owner-occupants steadily increases; SEUNA is greatly encouraged that the neighborhood is well on its way to stabilization.
⌂ ECOH closes due to its board’s lack of involvement; SEUNA leads the charge to re-establish a community center and coordinates meetings to secure leadership, funding, and a strengthened mission for the Center.
⌂ Landlords sue to overturn the Special Neighborhood District designation – and fail.
The Syracuse Police
Department opens a storefront on
⌂ WAER-FM boosts its signal from 6000 to 50,000 watts, garbling television, radio, telephone, and baby monitor signals immediately; SEUNA filed suit with the FCC and presents data to support the proof of interference.
⌂ Holiday weekend rogue blacktopping of backyards in rental properties continues and is shrugged off by the City, as neighbors are told to ‘prove’ that prior to the blacktopping, the area was green space.
⌂ The Westcott Community Center (WCC) forms out of the ashes of ECOH; SEUNA has once again led the charge to establish a community center that serves all area residents.
⌂ One week after an FCC complaint resolution deadline, SU admits that radio interference problems “may” exist because of the power boost to its radio station; SU had disregarded FCC regulations by losing documents required of the FCC, by not installing filters on the radio towers, by not moving the radio tower, and by not logging complainants; local cable providers and television stations supported the interference claims; the University agrees in a public, televised forum that they would address each complaint individually.
⌂ SEUNA supports the new Festival of Races with volunteers.
SEUNA arranges to
close a portion of
⌂ SEUNA forms a sub-committee to study the establishment of a Barry Park Association, a group to focus on the greenspace and recreational needs of the neighborhood.
⌂ SEUNA notes that there has been a marked increase in the number of raccoons, rats, and skunks prowling the neighborhood, all attributable to the increased amounts of unsecured garbage; SEUNA works with the DPW to communicate with all residents about the issue.
⌂ The FCC issues a letter to SU demanding that it address over 2000 unresolved complaints; it notes that SU radio station students have removed filters from the tower – filters which restrict the delivery of their alternative music to the suburbs but the removal of which risks their safety; area residents are urged to continue to document their issues to both SU and to the FCC.
SEUNA lobbies the NYS
Department of Conservation as the trash incinerator at
⌂ The SEUNA neighborhood is without power in many sections for up to 5 days due to a freak storm in the early hours of Labor Day; neighbors pitch in removing downed tree limbs and in hosting block-wide cookouts using outdoor grills.
OCRRA, which is set
to lose its contracts with trash haulers who will go to the lowest-price
bidder, seeks to charge a “green fee” to
⌂ An annual off-campus pre-graduation party devolves into a riot as the police and the mayor are pelted with beer bottles while furniture burns in the middle of the street; SU’s chancellor promises swift disciplinary action, but graduating students aren’t held back from activities; SEUNA hopes this “final straw” initiates true reform for off-campus student behavior moving forward.
⌂ In the fall, SEUNA assists SU in delivering orientation packets to off-campus students as an attempt to ameliorate the negative effects of the student-partier riots the prior spring; SEUNA hopes that this additional effort by neighbors will have a positive effect on student behavior.
⌂ SEUNA continues to pursue partnerships and has representatives on a number of community boards and committees, such as UNSAAC, WCC, the Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee of the Metropolitan Transit Commissions, the Citizen’s Advisory Committee for OCRRA, the Syracuse Planning Commission, the Syracuse Board of Zoning Appeals, the Syracuse School Board, and others.
⌂ SEUNA continues to note the increase in crime in the area, and data indicates the bulk of the crime is robberies of students and/or their dwellings; SEUNA urges students to be aware, be alert, and be cautious.
volunteer to clean and repair the staircase leading to
⌂ SEUNA increases its dues to $10 annually.
⌂ SEUNA notes that many new student residents in the neighborhood are not SU or SUNY-ESF students but LeMoyne and OCC students and seeks new ways to communicate with the students and their colleges.
⌂ SEUNA reaches out to students as volunteers as it continues its annual Earth Day involvement.
⌂ SU proposes athletic fields at its Hookway Tract; SEUNA is concerned about increased environmental challenges from irrigated and “improved” fields, as well as noise, lighting, increased traffic, and other issues.
⌂ SEUNA celebrates the new play structures and landscaping at Barry Park as a plaque is installed.
⌂ The zoning for the Hookway Tract is changed from residential to PID, and the new “enhancements” go in almost overnight; a few considerations are made to quiet the neighbors, which includes the planting of 20-foot-tall trees along fence lines, timers installed to turn off field lights by 8:30pm, and additional fencing around formerly open fields.
⌂ SEUNA publishes census information that indicate that despite neighborhood, City, and non-profit efforts, the neighborhood is still losing owner-occupants; landlords have been seen at public meetings proudly brandishing maps indicating how far their kingdoms have enveloped the area; statistics bear out that rental properties continue to have high rates of crime in the neighborhood.
efforts result in
⌂ SEUNA lobbies the University Hill Corporation to encourage them to consider home ownership incentives to hospital and medical center employees, similar to those given to SU employees as well as SUNY employees in other college towns.
⌂ A number of large burglaries triggers another SEUNA push to verify which houses in the Special Neighborhood District have received their Certificates of Suitability to prove that they only house (up to) 5 adults; a surprising number of properties have never been inspected since the law went into effect and landlords continue to cram students – and their valuables – into single-family homes; the previous City administration seems to have gone ‘easy’ on landlords to the detriment, once again, of the neighborhood.
⌂ Armed with diagrams, statistics, and college examples, SEUNA approaches SU requesting that vacant SU property that is already zoned PID be used to build new off-campus student apartments
⌂ SEUNA’s research indicates that fewer and fewer SU professors live in the neighborhood, despite the walkability of the area and UNPA and SU mortgage assistance.
⌂ SEUNA delivers a 500+-signature petition to the City of Syracuse requiring that SU and ESF build new apartment-style housing for juniors and seniors with the goal of eventually housing 90% of their students on their property; the petition also stated that the family definition of ‘5 unrelated adults’ be reduced to 3.
⌂ Syracuse University’s recent survey of its small cadre of employees still living in the SEUNA and WENA areas indicate that these residents, on a scale of 1-10, rate the area as a ‘3.8’, and comments parallel things SEUNA has been concerned with for over 30 years – parking, parties, trash, noise, density, run-down properties, and absentee landlords; SU promises to address these issues where it can.
⌂ The University Neighborhood Partnership, a coalition formed by SU that includes representation from the neighborhood groups but also from the landlords, releases its findings on density issues in the neighborhood – and it only addresses the consequences of density problems, rather than the density itself, while ignoring the white elephant: the continued loss of owner-occupied homes near campus; the UNP also recommends a ‘district within a district’ yet provides no rationale for such a move; SEUNA sees most of the findings as window-dressing.
⌂ Ed Smith School moves to a K-8 design, helping the neighborhood retain families that all too often move away just as their school-aged children reach 7th grade.
⌂ SEUNA issues a brief history of student migration in the neighborhood, indicating patterns of how students have moved closer to campus and in larger numbers.
⌂ SEUNA delivers petitions to Syracuse University demanding that the annual “Mayfest” celebration, which was started by the University in response to the 1999 riots in the neighborhood when an end-of-year party was closed down, be moved fully onto the SU campus; the 10-year-old SU-sponsored festival has developed into a mile-long house party stretching along Euclid from campus to Westcott Street, wreaking havoc in its wake.
⌂ Citing successful examples from other metropolitan areas with universities, SEUNA petitions the City with proposals to amortize grandfathered properties so that all properties once grandfathered are given a certain number of years to come into compliance with new ordinances, as well as suggestions on rental signage, property maintenance, and nuisance party ‘point systems’.
⌂ SEUNA again makes a detailed proposal to the University Hill Corporation to provide some mortgage incentives for their employees to live in the residential neighborhood.
SU successfully moves
⌂ SU and ESF announce new student housing to be built on campus property.
⌂ The Certificate of Suitability ordinance is amended to refine parking allowances and tie them into legal bedrooms passes; however, in the last few years, properties that were purchased between the ordinance and amendments were allowed to be grandfathered, and these properties will be allowed to have multiple vehicles parked where back yards were once green.