March 13 2017 Meeting Notes

NBN6 Meeting Notes 

March 13, 2017

Facilitator:     Judy Hay

Refreshments:  Neighbor Good Grant / Lisa Reagan

Discussion notes are “coded” in the following way:

Q = Question

A = Answer

C = Comment


1. Introductions

2.  Crime Reports from Rochester Police Dept. Crime Prevention Officers

GENESEE SECTION (UR, Upper Mt. Hope, Lilac/Azalea neighborhoods) – Capt. McMullen
3 commercial robberies:

  1. W. Henrietta: $600 taken
  2. 1810 Mt Hope, Quick Mart: suspect with handgun. Cashier refused, fought w suspect. Took earrings from employee. “Pea Coat Robber” wore Timberland boots. No one in custody.
  3. Business at1338 Mt. Hope: $900 cash taken. Appears to be an inside job. The employee was questioned.

Robbery on Pedestrian bridge between (UR campus) Wilson Blvd. and Plymouth Ave. 10:25 pm. Pedestrian was robbed at gunpoint. UR has a video. Suspect in custody. Property recovered from this and other robberies.

Domestic Stabbing on Green Hills drive; Suspect arrested.

Q. Any crimes on Lackawanna Pedestrian bridge?
A. Not in a long time.

GOODMAN SECTION  (Highland Park, Swillburg neighborhoods) – Lt. Alberti

2 robberies:  900 block S. Clinton, India House and 1477 South Ave., Alice’s, $50 taken.
Homicide on Mar 2, at Char’s Liquor Store, see below.

10 car larcenies; tend to move from one area to another; they are currently happening in our area. More than half were unlocked vehicles with property visible!

Please lock your doors (car and home), windows, set alarms, make sure exterior lights are working. Please help us: be our eyes and ears: call us if you see something suspicious. Even if you are not sure, give us a call.

Homicide at Char’s Liquor Store (1700 block South Ave):
Mar 3, suspect armed with a knife entered store, to rob store. This crime was upsetting to neighbors and police alike, so we were motivated to solve it. Suspect (Kevin Quander) in custody.

Q. Why was Char in there alone? Other liquor stores always have two people in the store. A. Several, many, liquor store owners work alone.
Q. Do businesses like this have a silent alarm at the cash register? If not, should it be required? A. It’s not mandatory, but we strongly recommend it. Surveillance cameras, alarms, etc. are often used if owners are alone.
Q. Since the suspect lived in halfway house, on parole, was he unique – are there more parolees like him out there? Neighbors were not aware of this house. A. His house isn’t a halfway house. Located in the Genesee section, it’s owned by the Psych Center. We are looking into this facility and will report back at the next meeting of NBN6.
Q. Are we allowed to know where these houses are, that the Psych Center are putting people into? A. We are looking into this. There’s no database like the sex registry. Police are only notified of individuals wearing ankle bracelet. As a Captain, it also bothered me, not knowing about that house.
Q Can we expect to hear more on these issues in future? A. Yes.


Two Robberies: 200 block of Gregory St.: Victim so drunk, he didn’t know whether it was a robbery or his friends. The second robbery may have been a prostitution situation.

Severe Beating: recorded as upper end Mt Hope, but actually took place on Hudson Ave. Victim claimed she was robbed, but it was domestic violence.

6 Car larcenies: Many fewer this month; there were 10 last month. One was $1000 left in arm of her car. Victim claimed she didn’t need the money back, only for tax purposes. Viewed as suspicious.

Q. With power outages as we’ve had recently, are you or Fire Dept guys going door to door to make sure residents are not freezing? A. No.
Q There’s still a wire down on Pavilion St.  A. Police Dept. hasn’t been asked to do this.
Representatives from Fire Department, from Truck 3 on South Ave: Last year our Truck was 2nd busiest in the City. This was unusual. With the recent bad weather, we just make sure there’s no danger in the immediate area. We attempt to block off things like downed lines. RGE handles the rest.

3. Southeast Neighborhood Service Center – Nancy Johns-Price

• This Thurs, 5 pm, at Frederick Douglass R Center: “Turn your Vision into Reality” about grants for business owners.  For people planning to start a business, or who already have a business. Please RSVP by calling 428-6912, email or visit

• May 6, Clean Sweep. Projects must be received in next few weeks. If you know of volunteers looking for a project, please send them to our office. We have some big projects that need volunteers.

Q. Will you be the conduit for community engagement meetings on the development at 151 Mount Hope (the land next to the river) mentioned by Commissioner Mohammed?  A. I will be involved, and will keep you updated.

• There’s an open meeting on March 29th, 6 pm, Hamilton Towers on this development. See below under Community Sharing.

4. Rochester Divinity School Campus Sale  – Tom McDade Clay, Rochester Crozier Divinity School; Louis Giardino,  Top Capital of New York.

Last week we had a press conference, and a meeting with neighborhood leaders to announce our plans for the Divinity School.

• We are setting up a meeting at the beginning of April, organized by the Highland Park Neighborhood Association. We will announce this through the neighborhood groups. I have cards – feel free to contact me:
Tom McDade Clay, Vice President for Institutional Advancement, Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School. Cell 585 305 0326.

• Last week we announced that Top Capital of New York purchased the 24 acre Divinity School campus. Furthermore, the Divinity School will remain on site in a building that will be built on the campus.
• Last May the trustees decided to sell the campus, after 20 years discussion about how to use our campus. It’s a beautiful, but too big.
• In the initial agreement to sell the campus, the Divinity School would remain on campus for 2 years to organize their move. They will be in new building in fall of 2018.

Q. I thought the Divinity School stated earlier in the process that it was interested in a more urban setting. How did that change? A. It was said at some point, but wasn’t definitive.
Q. Where will the new parking be for the new building, and where are the entrances?  A. There’s already a curb cut on Highland with a driveway – that will be the entrance. There’s a pump house to the right. We are still in preliminary stages – not clear if parking will be at the front or back of the building.

Louis Giardino, Top Capital of New York:
• Colgate has been in the same location on this campus for last 100 years. We are happy they will stay in the same place. The school needed more modern facilities.
• Our goals are to respect the beauty of the property, and to design a smaller space for the Divinity School. I brought some drawings, which can be sent out electronically.  Note we are still in very early stages. Anything we say tonight, describing the project, is not yet cast in stone. We want to invite public input at every stage. We are also bound by local government regulations and regular channels of approval.

• Objectives of our Initial design:
– To be in keeping with existing property.
– To give the Divinity School a comfortable modern facility
– To be sensitive to the community.

• The size of new building is approximately 30,000 square feet. The Divinity School needs half of that space, and will occupy one floor. There will be a 2nd story, which will provide space for the school to expand. We will lease the rest of the space to compatible users. A half story area may contain some apartments for eleven students.
• The new building will be a brick structure with a roof, design and windows similar to the original buildings. Our goal is for the design to appear to be built at same time as original 1930’s building. Today we were looking to match brick.
• It will be located at lower end of the slope on Highland Ave. The fences will remain with the entrance at the pump house gate. The new school will to the left, pump house to right. There will be a level parking lot on other side of pump house gate. The trees will be left intact in the wooded area on Goodman St.
• The present Divinity School building will be turned into a hotel & conference center. Being next to Highland Park is an asset. We can invest the money to make it a high end destination

Q. Is the property real estate tax exempt? Will it go on the tax roles? Will you seek tax abatement?  A. It will go on tax roles. We are in early stages of looking at the tax abatement. We are privately financed. The project is estimated to cost $36 million.
Q: Will you keep student housing?  A. Yes. Hope Hall will remain. Speaking with Todd Baxter of the Veterans organization to see what their needs are and if Veterans will still be housed on the campus.
Q. Will the current main entrance/exit be used for the hotel?  A. Yes. At this early stage, traffic studies still need to be done.
Q. How many parking spaces for the new building? Won’t that change the landscape?  A. 130 parking spaces. We would landscape to conceal the parking lot.
Q. The current zoning doesn’t allow any of this new construction. We purchased a home with a view of this site. This is an R1 Residential neighborhood. We ask that you understand that a mixed use building is not consistent.  A. We will begin the application process right away.
Q. Do you have any other plans to take down other buildings or add on to them?  A. No plans to take down anything else.
Q. What about the president’s house?  A. We are currently on contract with the school to allow the house to remain as it is for next 4 years.
Q. When do you think the renovation of the hotel building will be complete?  A. Renovations will begin after the Divinity School moves out in 2018.
Q. Will it be one ownership for the whole site?  A. There will be two separate corporations with shared ownership. We (Top Capital) will be the property managers, responsible to maintain both buildings.  The Divinity School will lease.
Q. Will there be a road connecting the higher property to the lower?  A. It’s too early, we don’t know.
Q. There’s a back part of the campus next to Highland Parkway.  A. That entrance is blocked off. There’s no plans to open/use that. All these things will be addressed in the approval process.
Q. In back of the main buildings there’s a parking lot. There are 2 residential buildings there once owned by the Divinity School.  A. (McDade Clay) They were sold about 15 years ago.  C. The sale of these 2 houses has been positive – younger people moved in.
Q. What is your hotel occupancy – what size conferences?  A.   It will be a boutique style hotel, 80 rooms. There’s a lecture hall in the building now that would serve for conferences. It has a present occupancy limit – we think it will stay the same (thus the same occupancy as the weddings currently held there require.)
Q. How many apartments in the new structure?  A. Eleven 1 BR & studio apartments.
Q. Have you done this kind of development before?  A. No boutique hotels. We have developed a 90 unit luxury residence The Chateau at Heritage Square in Brockport. And an $80 million property is being constructed in Saratoga Springs.
Q. The Divinity School has been a great neighbor, reaching out to neighbors with events like a sunrise service on Easter morning, ringing of the bells around Christmas time, and the blessing of relationships on Valentines day. Will we lose these events?  A. One of the caveats of the current contract: the chapel, lecture hall and some other rooms will continue to be available to the Divinity School as well as new areas, like the new fitness center. We hope to be good stewards of the property and continue to do the same outreach to the community, and look for new opportunities.

Q. The neighborhood has enjoyed the bell concerts.  A. McDade Clay:  It’s all manual ringing of bells.
Giardino: This is the kind of information we need from the community.

CRCDS_Building Plan


CRCDS_Site Plan

 5. Roc 4.0 – NBN6 Input into Comprehensive Plan Update

Our city is in the 4.0 city planning process. NBN6 gave input to the last round of planning in 2009. Tonight we will review the Vision pieces outlined in 2009. We’re asking for your feedback on the 2009 plan suggested modifications: Is this vision still the vision of our six neighborhoods?

First Vision: “ In partnership with the City we are a united whole for the purpose of planning, safety, police, communication, housing, land use and economic development.”

C. I like “the unified whole”.
C. But it’s not true! We have now been split apart into 3 different city sections and 2 NCSs.
A. Keep in mind, this text describes our GOAL, our vision, that we wish to continue to act as a unified whole.
C. Several of the leaders from other sectors share your concerns and have met to convey the concerns to the City. Have you been involved?
A. We have not been involved.

Second Vision: “We envision a welcoming community where diversity is counted an asset, and where neighbors care for each other.”

Third Vision: “Engaged in the work of building community, we know the importance of nurturing our children, conserving our unique housing stock, ensuring the effectiveness and safety of our transportation system and encouraging local businesses.”

C. The issue of transportation is important in our community.

Fourth Vision: “We cherish & protect our historic parks, river, cemetery and canal. We strive to echo that garden environment in our neighborhood. But we also strive to create neighborhoods that are as safe as they are beautiful.”

C. Since I moved here, the neighborhood has been stable and friendly.
C.  The 2nd sentence should have “and” rather than “but”. Or just eliminate the “but’.

Fifth Vision: “Healthy neighborhoods need healthy families, and we work to provide assistance to all our citizens in need.”

(A comment after the meeting suggested changing “citizens” to something like “residents”, because “citizens” now has a charged meaning, suggesting exclusion of non-citizens.)

Facilitator: Are there things you feel are missing from this? We will take this up again next month. You can bring this handout home and review it, or the whole document (see below) then mail us with ideas, changes.

You can find the whole document on the Southeast Neighborhood Service Center web page: Under “Rochester 4.0 SE” click on “Sector 6 Final Plan”

Next part: Six major foci – please review these:
Public Safety, Economic Development, Housing, Community Organizing, Youth and Education, and Green Initiatives.

C. Add something about libraries in Youth and Education.
C.  In this text there is a lot of mention of increasing things. Please review that; things don’t always need increasing – some may require maintaining.

6. South West Neighborhood Service Center, John McMahon

(No report, John was absent.)

7. Community Sharing

Events at Frederick Douglass Library:
• On Wed March 29, at 230,  RMSC presents “What is an Experiment?” a chemistry program for ages 6 and up.
• On Monday March 27, the Douglass Book Group will be discussing A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler. To register, please call 428-8206 or stop in at the Information Desk.

Q. Any news on the community meeting room yet?  A. There’s been a glitch. Someone in school district decided another egress is needed in that room before it can be shared. They are saying maybe in the fall we can get access.
Q. Would it help to get some communication from these community organizations directly to the School District?  A. It wouldn’t hurt if the groups write letters.
Q. Addressed to whom?  A. The School Principal, Dr. Gkourlias:; 999 South Ave., Rochester, NY 14620; 585-461-3280

  • The Application for the NeighborGood grant went out in the NBN6 news on Mar 10. You can click on application and fill it out. The grants are due April 4. If any block clubs want to obtain money or have questions, please contact Nancy. It’s an easy grant from the Rochester Community Foundation. You give them a budget of what you want to do with the money. $750 for 2 year cycle. You don’t even need to be incorporated.
  • News from SWPC: On Wed 29 March, 6 pm, Hamilton Towers, there will be an opportunity to comment on the 151 Mt Hope development plans.

    • April 22 is grand opening of Abundance, on corner Averill and South.

    • WedgePoint is now (partially occupied). They will have an open house in early May.

    • HPNA will host a meeting with the Divinity School, 6-7:30 pm. Date in early April, to be determined. Open to everyone. It will be announced on NextDoor and in The Buzz. Hopefully they will bring their drawings that we can project for discussion.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s