At each legislative session of Penfield’s town board, residents are given two opportunities for public participation: once at the beginning of the meeting and once at the end. So when offered the chance to let the board know their concerns regarding the potential development of 86 Ryan Homes at the corner of Five Mile Line Rd. and Atlantic Avenue prior to construction, residents in this area took the opportunity. At the time, this property was in agricultural use. One of their chief complaints to our elected officials was about drainage, and the current problems they were experiencing with drainage. Even though the town sends postcards to affected homeowners inviting them to attend the board meeting with the intention of making their concerns or support known, the general consensus by locals was that this development, to be known as Windsor Ridge, was already a done deal. I held the same disheartening opinion. Construction on Windsor Ridge began in 2016. The invitation seemed to me to be the board going through the motions legally required of them.
And that sentiment would seem to be the case, as drainage problems are already occurring and the development isn’t even completed! While on my way to vote on Election Day earlier this month, I happened to be rounding the corner at the southwest side of Windsor Ridge when I noticed muddy water spilling over the sidewalk, right up to the edge of Atlantic Ave. While the builder and planning board could argue the massive retention pond at front of the property (along Five Mile Line Rd.) did work, it obviously failed to drain at the back of the development.
Recently planted trees were drowning in standing water. This indicates the flooding was not expected because, at the heart of it, what cost-conscious business person would set themselves up to spend more money re-doing anything that could have been planned for and mitigated beforehand?
I originally posted these pictures on my Facebook page. Here are some of the responses they received:
“You may want to send these [pictures] to the town building department.”
“Wow- that’s a problem.”
“Where the hell [are] the town’s well-paid consultants?”
“Developers and Town management must share the blame. Don’t tell me builders looked other way when environmental/water table issues were even mentioned. Town Board needs to represent its citizens, not the monied home builders.”
“Yeah this is right down the street and around the corner from us. What a shame.”
I live in this area; thankfully my home is set up on a slight knoll, so water is not an issue for us. But, I can tell you what other issues exist:
-Windsor Ridge will supposedly boast about 86 homes with ONLY ONE combined entrance/exit. So roughly 170 cars will drive in and out on a daily basis, pouring out onto Five Mile Line Rd., in close proximity to the already congested light at Atlantic Ave. Currently, there are all kinds of construction vehicles going in and out of there, spewing exhaust all day long, six of seven days of the week. This is in addition to the large number of diesel trucks that go by all day, some days making it impossible to open a window without letting the fumes settle into the house. According to the American Cancer Society, diesel exhaust is carcinogenic.
-My family and I have lived here for almost 8 years. From my kitchen window, I have a direct view of the intersection, and if you haven’t noticed, I pay close attention to what’s going on in this area. Within the last year, I have noticed an increased number of car accidents at that intersection. While adding 170 cars to the mix there has been no change to the road to accommodate a turning lane or to make it safer in any way. The speed limit from the east is 45 MPH and I can tell you, when the sun is in your eyes while trying to turn there, it can be tough to see.
-In between my home and Windsor Ridge is the Penfield Community Victory Garden. We are so lucky to live next to this garden…it’s beautiful in high summer, is a great example of a successful community program, and quite honestly, I appreciate that extra open space…especially now that Windsor Ridge is on the other side. Residents pay up to $55 to rent a garden bed for a season. Due to the construction next door, gardeners there saw an increase in pests destroying their crops, which they described as a “vole invasion”. We ourselves have seen an increase in these rodents in our home; our cats leave us their dead bodies as gifts. What’s really gross about this example is that residents who pay to rent garden beds to grow & share their own flowers or produce are inconvenienced by having to incorporate strategies to keep their plants from being devoured and destroyed…which also costs $…because construction next door takes precedence.
So, in an effort to finish this post, I’ll get to my point (as I listen to dump trucks at WR unloading or loading fill or rocks) which is: above is a first-hand account of how development is affecting an area and the TAX-PAYING residents who live in this area. Pictures and other examples offer proof of this. Said tax-payers warned the town and planning boards of their existing issues and future concerns, but were ignored and over-ruled in favor of the builder’s wants. This is infuriating and, on so many levels, short-sighted. Yes, I’m sure some readers will tell me to move if I don’t like it, but why should I? I pay my taxes on time and contribute greatly in other ways to this town. My question is: why does the quality of life of current residents really not rate with our elected officials? They claim it does, but actions speak louder than words…and on some issues such as pesticides on playing fields and the status of the creation of the resident committee to help develop the 2020 Comprehensive Plan…they haven’t even provided that much.