By Mindy MacLaren
On Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019, a public hearing was held to give Penfield residents the opportunity to speak to their neighbors who have volunteered to sit on the 2020 Comprehensive Plan Committee; the Town’s planner (Zach Nersinger), engineer (Mark Valentine), and Director of Development (Jim Costello) were present as well. My comments are below.
“Given that the comprehensive plan can be tailored to highlight the aspects that might make a municipality unique, I’d like to see the objective of the 2020 Comp Plan be to foster interest in Penfield’s historic and natural attractions as well as the care of these places so that they exist for future generations. Penfield can be more than 441 and an inordinate amount of dental offices by supporting the idea that it is a destination in which people can enjoy the great outdoors or learn about local history.
I’d like to see addition zoning categories, such as a recreational category, so we don’t end up with another such situation as we did with Shadow Pines or with a $10 million single family home on a beautiful lake in what was supposed to be a mixed use district.
As it relates to Shadow Pines, I believe the area encompassing Shadow Lake, the quarry, and Shadow Pines should be designated as a special zoning district to prepare for the lake that will eventually be there. I’d like to see more effort go into caring for the Clark House and barn. Those historic structures are part of Penfield’s legacy and deserve better care from us.
I’d like to see sidewalks completed to increase walk- and bike-ability as well as to ensure a safer experience for those activities.
I believe we need a formal plan in place for the Irondequoit Bay area. Instead of 4-story apartment buildings that block the view, increase traffic, displace wildlife, and pollute the Bay, done right: that area could be a beautiful natural and historical draw for visitors and residents alike. Any plan for that area must take into account the flooding that impacts businesses located on both sides of Empire Blvd.
I’d like to see Penfield’s Historic Preservation Ordinance held to a higher standard so that we do not lose the character that remains at our Four Corners and in other areas of town. [Here I mentioned the large blue house near the corner of 250 & Atlantic Ave…built in 1840…that, rather than be included in the mixed-use development with a historical design going in there, will be demolished].
I’d like to see Penfield become a Climate Smart Community, through a program with the DEC, as are Brighton, Brockport, Irondequoit, Sodus and Williamson. As a town on Irondequoit Bay, we have to be proactive in dealing with the effects of a changing climate. This would also include passing Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) legislation like Brighton, Brockport, Irondequoit, and Pittsford, and creating a concrete pesticide policy so that these poisons are no longer allowed to be used on public property.
I see the next Comprehensive Plan as a great opportunity to focus on the unique aspects of Penfield so that we can create a fuller, more well-rounded identity for our town.”