Monday, August 26, 2013

Week Ahead: Public safety money up for grabs, filling the inner loop, COMIDA projects, lake levels

Posted By on Mon, Aug 26, 2013 at 9:51 AM

Rochester Mayor Tom Richards will hold the first of four Voice of the Citizen — Budgeting for Public Safety forums from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday, August 26, at the Edgerton Community Center Stardust Ballroom, 41 Backus Street. 

The city has set aside $200,000 in its current budget for residents to use for projects or investments to improve public safety in their neighborhoods.

Meetings will be held in each quadrant of the city through September. The four-step process concludes in June 2014 with the city carrying out chosen projects or selecting organizations to do so.

The City of Rochester will hold a public meeting to discuss the inner loop east reconstruction project at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, August 28, in City Council chambers at City Hall, 30 Church Street. 

The proposed project will eliminate the segment of the inner loop between Monroe Avenue and Charlotte Street and replace it with a street. The project's goal, according to city officials, is to increase traffic safety, reconnect neighborhoods with downtown, and make available parcels of land for mixed-use redevelopment.

The purpose of this meeting is to review the project, discuss preliminary design alternatives, and solicit suggestions from the public. The project's design consultants will give a detailed presentation and citizens can interact with city staff following the presentation.

Preliminary engineering and design is anticipated to be completed later this year. Final design will be completed by summer 2014 and, depending on funding, construction may begin as soon as fall 2014.

Contact City of Rochester Transportation Specialist Erik Frisch at [email protected] with comments and concerns prior to September 15.

COMIDA, Monroe County’s Industrial Development Agency, will consider awarding incentives to local projects of particular interest. The meeting is at noon on Tuesday, August 27, at the Watts Conference Center, 47 South Fitzhugh Street. 

Button Lofts LLC is asking for a tax abatement to redevelopment the former Ted Cohen Office Furniture building at 340 Rutgers Street. The $6 million project includes three townhomes and 36 lofts. It is expect to create 1.5 new full-time-equivalent positions over the next three years.

Whitney Baird Associates LLC is seeking assistance for the second phase of the redevelopment of the Culver Road armory, which will include office space and retail. The $10 million project is expected to create 12 full-time-equivalent jobs over the next three years.

Midtown Tower LLC, the partnership formed to redevelop Midtown tower into office, retail, and residential, is asking for a tax abatement for the $54.5 million project, which is expected to create 29 FTE position over the next three years. The City of Rochester is also providing $3.7 million in loans to the project.

Costco Wholesale Corporation is asking COMIDA for a property tax abatement for its planned new store in the CityGate project at the intersection of East Henrietta and Westfall roads. The $30.2 million project is expected to create 225 FTE jobs over the next three years.

The meeting begins at noon, but individual public hearings on each project are held before. The schedule of public hearings on the above projects is available here

More details on the projects and the proposed incentives can be found here. Christine Carrie Fien

Friday is the last day for the public to submit comments on a proposed plan to regulate Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River water levels.

The International Joint Commission, which handles issues involving water bodies with shared US-Canadian borders, proposed Plan 2014 in June. The water levels are manipulated via the Moses-Saunders hydropower dam on the St. Lawrence River. (Comments can be submitted, and some can be viewed, here.)

Plan 2014 is the latest in a series of proposals to alter how the IJC approaches water levels. It’s based heavily on the last proposal, known as Bv7. But it incorporates trigger points for extreme high and low water levels. When the levels hit the trigger points, more water could be let into or out of Lake Ontario.

Environmental groups like Plan 2014 because it would allow water levels to vary in a way that’s closer to how they would naturally. That’ll allow coastal ecosystems, particularly wetlands, to recover from decades of damage under the existing plan. Some industries like it, too, because it could benefit hydropower operations, which means more cheap electricity.

But the proposal, just like the ones before it, has met resistance from landowners and local governments on the southern shore. They say that the plan will result in more erosion and property damage and that the IJC underestimates the costs of those damages. For an example of property owners’ concerns, see this letter posted on the Lake Ontario Riparian Alliance’s website.

The IJC is also holding a Plan 2014 teleconference at 7 p.m. on Tuesday. Participants will be able to comment on the proposal. 

Monroe County's Charter Review Commission will take public input during a 10:30 a.m. session on Thursday. The meeting will be held at the County Office Building, 39 West Main Street.

The committee is reviewing the county charter and the administrative code, two sections of local law that lay out how the county government is organized and how it functions. It governs issues including the size of the County Legislature, term limits, and the budget process. The Legislature would have to approve any changes before they can become law.

The committee members have been broken up into groups and assigned a certain section of the charter to review. The members are supposed to make recommendations to the group.

Members of the public can register to speak by e-mailing [email protected] or calling the Legislature clerk’s office at (585) 753-1950. Jeremy Moule 

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