Comprehensive Plan Update, Update

We are now 26 months removed from when we had first hoped to pass a comprehensive plan update. The last full update was in the late 1970’s. This will come up for a vote again on February 21, 2018. I wanted to provide you with an update of where we are. In attempt to keep this sputtering process moving staff attempted to put together areas of consensus. They did a nice job. Here is a link to that document.

If you care about how our community grows you can and should read all 3 sections of the comprehensive plan here. Pages 26 & 27 in Section I list the 7 core principles of the plan.

A majority of the City Council; myself, Mark Bilderback, Annalissa Johnson, and Nick Campion have already voted to approve the comprehensive plan. State statute dictates that a super majority of the council is required to pass the comprehensive plan. As such 5 votes are required. The entire city council was asked to put their concerns in writing so that we can continue to discuss. I will attach those comments to this post.

Annalissa Johnson & Mark Bilderback did not send any comments, but are already in support of the plan.

Ardell Brede did not submit any comments and has not participated in plan discussions. The required super-majority renders a veto meaningless.

I submitted some minor comments, but support the plan as is:

  1. Core Principle #2, Fiscal sustainability, must explicitly include financial plans to maintain all infrastructure through out its life and replacement. This is currently not happening. The unfunded liability of $1.4 Billion must be addressed and it must be addressed through tools that exist today, it may be modified should new tools become available. My 2 biggest concerns are city facilities and streets.

  2. Core Principles #6 & #7 should remain. I hope we all agree why these are particularly important to undeserved communities in Rochester. I am willing to entertain rephrasing to accommodate concerns of colleagues. I believe that Social Equity, Environmental Justice, and Health are critical to the future of our community. Should these core values be removed from the 7 principles, I would motion a public vote so I can memorialize my support of these values even it the majority of the council is willing to delete them.

  3. Complete streets require complete networks. I am fine with leaving specifics out of the comprehensive plan and deferring them to other documents. Not every mode should be on every street, but complete and effective networks should be available for all modes. The 2012 Bicycle masterplan is out of date and requires an update. That would be the place to address specifics in collaboration with the Pedestrian Bicycle Advisory Committee and Citizens Transit Board.

Nick Campion submitted the following comments:

  • Community Vision: I support this section.
  • Core Principles: I support this section.
  • Blending old and new strategies for physical growth & change
    • Key concepts carried forward: I support this section.
    • Key Concepts of the Plan
      • The only component I think is missing is the focus on the sustainability of development.  A focus not just on infill and redevelopment, but on broad leveraging of existing public investments as well as zoning and land use to produce higher levels of economic activity
      • I also think the new plan calls out reductions in acceptance for growth, annexation and expansion happening outside of specific zones.
    • Overall I support this section but want to see these items are specifically incorporated
  • Implementation Strategies: I support this section
  • The Growth Management Framework
    • I would like to see the following area (center in the below picture along hwy 52 between 65th and 75th st) demarcated as Orange “Urban Reserve Area Expected Growth Beyond 2050” from the Yellow “Near Term Urban Expansion Expected Growth to 2040”.  I do not believe this area should be a near term expansion area.
  • Reflect New Directions through Land Use Designations: It is obviously challenging to support or oppose this since the designations have no supporting descriptions.  I would support removing this from the unity document.

Of the three remaining council members here is my take on where they are.

Ed Hruska has been reasonable and is working with staff. He has documented his concerns. I disagree with some of them but he is asking for some reasonable clarifications. Ed is doing some good work, I wish this was done long ago, but I appreciate his willingness to work with his colleagues. In short; I believe he is reasonable and the most likely 5th vote. His concerns are attached here.

Randy Staver’s concerns are less reasonable. To his credit, he has now expressed them in writing. Here they are attached. I disagree with his belief that we should eliminate social equity and environmental justice as core community plan values. He also seems to want to diminish greatly what is covered in a comprehensive plan. This is inconsistent with best practices and even baseline practices nationwide. As is often the case with Mr. Staver, I expect that we will only get his vote after the matter has already been decided. I am particularly disappointed as we sat at the same table at the MLK Day Breakfast where we all discussed the importance of justice issues to less privileged communities. Hopefully the NAACP, Rochester for Justice, Rochester Area Chamber and other groups will pressure him to change his position. All that said, I can work with Randy on most of the others.

Mark Hickey’s behavior is ridiculous at best. He chose to largely ignore the tremendous community engagement process. He wants to micromanage the entire process page by page now that the document has already been created. He will not give us a list of concerns in writing and only wants to divulge them in meetings which are not video recorded. This would also take away the ability of others in the community to explain why many of the sections exist. I am so disappointed in Mark Hickey’s unwillingness to collaborate with those he represents.


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