Hope your heart is still racing from our introduction to Zoning last week, because this week we’re talking about residential zoning in Rochester!
Contrary to common knowledge, residential zoning isn’t exclusively for residences (nor is commercial zoning exclusively for commercial – it’s a good place to build apartments, in fact). That said, Rochester has 3 specific residential zones that we’re discussing here. Grab your bow tie and let’s go…
Well readers, this is it. The series of articles you’ve been waiting for your entire life without even knowing it. That’s right, we’re going to talk about zoning, and more specifically, zoning in Rochester. I’ve been known to refer to zoning as the last bastion for the wicked, and over the next few weeks, I look forward to pleading my case.
“Double Jeopardy” wasn’t invented by Alex Trebek. It’s actually a procedural defense in our system of justice that forbids a defendant from being tried more than once for the same (or similar) charges. Unfortunately this rule doesn’t seem to apply with historic preservation in Rochester. Because the very same owner of this historic church at 660 West Main Street will, for a second time, ask the Zoning Board for permission to demolish the structure to make way for a discount store.
Dawn Noto is president of the Susan B. Anthony Neighborhood Association. She was concerned about the demolition plans in March of 2013 when the Zoning Board blocked them the first time. This time Dawn says the conditions are no different and the City should be working with the owner on a plan to rehab the church building instead of entertaining his plan for a second time…
The Honeoye Falls Community Association says they have filed an Article 78 Petition to invalidate the February 17th code change allowing drive-through restaurants in the General Commercial District.
A similar petition was submitted in November 2013 to invalidate an identical code change passed in October 2013. In response to the first petition, the Board of Trustees rescinded the code change in December 2013. The Board then passed the code change again on February 17th, 2014…
Within a 30 minute drive of downtown Rochester, beyond the suburban development surrounding the city, is the Village of Honeoye Falls. Honeoye Falls is not a typical crossroads village though. Like Rochester, it was settled due to the location of the waterfalls to provide power to mills in the early 1800s. Unlike Rochester though, it never grew large enough to lose the majority of its Main Street to large suburban plazas, malls, and ‘big boxes’.
Dunkin’ Donuts is interested in constructing a new location with a drive-thru, in a section of the village which currently has a small concentration of commercial development, but the village code currently disallows drive-thru restaurants. The Mayor and some members of the Village Board are supporting a proposal to change the code to allow Dunkin’ Donuts to build a drive-thru even though the village is in the midst of updating the Comprehensive Plan. Convenience and an additional source of revenue for the village government may come at a high cost though if a drive-thru is allowed…
Two important cases will go before the Zoning Board this Thursday: the ongoing saga of one historic church on Main Street, and design concerns regarding the future College Town. Salvation for the church, as well as the promise of a pedestrian-friendly College Town, may hang in the balance.
First, if you’ve been following the story of the little white church at 660 W. Main Street, owner Marvin Maye will make one more appeal to challenge the building’s status as a Designated Building of Historic Value. If he succeeds, he could have a clear path forward to demolish the 140-something-year-old church.* And in its place would go a Dollar General store…
About a month ago, someone set up a petition in opposition to a plan to demolish 660 West Main Street (formerly Westminster Presbyterian Church) and to prevent the building of a Dollar General in its place. The owner of the petition is using “Susan B. Anthony” as an alias. And this week “Susan B. Anthony” sent me a plea for help via email…
RochesterSubway.com has learned that Marvin Maye, owner of 660 W. Main Street, is making a renewed push to demolish the historic church. And one local theatre group has expressed interest in saving the building…
It had been assumed among some preservationists that Mayor Thomas Richards was directly responsible for pressuring the Zoning Board and Planning Commission prior to their respective votes to allow the demolition of the historic Cataract Brewhouse. That was the unofficial word coming from people inside City Hall, and it’s no secret that big business executive types like to stick together. Now, after the dust from that battle over preservation has finally settled, and the rubble has been cleared away, the Mayor is affirming those assumptions and declaring all out war on preservation.
Dawn Noto, President of the Susan B. Anthony Neighborhood Association says this section of the city is in the early stages of a renaissance. But the turn around of West Main and the Susan B. Anthony neighborhood isn’t happening by accident. Years of planning, community involvement, public and private investment, and careful preservation of valuable historic assets have been key factors. Noto knows this progress is fragile. That with one short sighted development decision, years of work could begin to unravel.
The church shown above sits vacant at 660 W. Main Street . It’s on the City’s list of historic buildings and potentially eligible for the National or State Register of Historic Places. Unfortunately the building’s owner is itching to demolish it… to clear the way for a new Dollar General store…
On Monday evening, June 8, 2009, the Rochester Regional Community Design Center will go before Rochester’s City Planning Commission and appeal the decision to allow a Fastrac gas station to be built on Main Street next to the Main/University Inner Loop on-ramp. Roger Brown, Creative Consultant at RRCDC explains, “Though we don’t agree with the Zoning Board’s decision to allow a gas station at that site … much of our case will be about the urban design of the building and how it needs to be designed according to the Center City Design Standards for Main Street.”
I’ll talk more about those “urban design standards” and how you can help. But first, there’s a virus spreading across America…
After the Erie Canal was rerouted south of downtown Rochester, the Rochester
Industrial & Rapid Transit Railway (the subway) was built in
its place as a link between the five different railroads and interurban trolley
lines that served the Rochester area. As the industrial landscape of Rochester
changed, and highways replaced the railroads, the Rochester subway gradually
became a relic of a bygone era. In 1956 the subway was abandoned and much of
its route was converted into Interstate 490 built to connect Rochester
with the New York State Thruway (I-90). Read more about the history of the Rochester Subway.
RochesterSubway.com exists to help spark
public dialogue around how we can better connect the neighborhoods of Rochester
NY, surrounding communities, and their cultural offerings. Rochesters
future is written in her past. Let's rediscover it.