Nov 13 2017 Meeting Notes

NBN6 Meeting Notes 

November 13, 2017

Facilitator:  Rev. Judy Hay

Refreshments courtesy of The Distillery & Pellegrino’s


Discussion notes are “coded” in the following way:

Q = Question

A = Answer

C = Comment

R = Response



1. Introductions

  1. Crime Prevention Reports

Genesee Section (Upper Mt. Hope, Lilac/Azalea):

  • Low crime month; only one car larceny
  • Packages still being stolen, suggest you have them delivered to the post office
  • 2 new recruit officers in the Genesee section
  • Officers growing beards to raise money for the “13-30 program”. Go to to donate and choose the Locust Club team.

C: Thank you for the extra patrol on Poplar St., we’re noticing a difference

Central Section (South Wedge):

  • Stabbing on Sanford St. at 8:15pm; no apparent reason and no suspect arrested
  • Larcenies in the area of Gregory & South Ave., mostly car larcenies

C: Thank you for the increased traffic enforcement on Ashland St. during the Mt. Hope Ave. construction

Goodman Section (Highland Park, Swillburg, Lilac/Azalea):

  • Assault at 800 block of South Ave. that may have involved known parties
  • With holidays coming, make sure you make proper arrangements for receipt of packages and don’t leave your packages in your car
  1. Proposal to re-zone properties on Mt. Hope Ave. from R1 to C1 – Peter Psyllos, owner of the Distillery & Pellegrino’s

Distillery has been open for 33 years and Pellegrino’s for 18 years, and have been active members of the Mt. Hope business association.

Purchase of this parcel is an opportunity to clean up the corner of Mt. Hope & May St. that has become an eyesore, and add parking that our businesses desperately needs during our busy times. We used to count on parking that is no longer available for our customers and employees.

Prior to purchasing the property, we met with City planning & zoning staff seeking advice for how to accomplish what we needed. They suggested rezoning parcel at 25 May St. from R1 (residential) to C1 (commercial) to make it possible to create the additional parking.

They suggested we contact neighbors, address concerns and seek support. We did that through several meetings with adjacent neighbors. We got positive feedback that neighbors were pleased the eyesore would be addressed and the parking would be well landscaped and with an appropriate screening from adjacent homes (similar to the one on South Ave & Steward St.).

We had an opportunity to purchase adjacent properties but did not purchase them so as not to encroach on the residential neighborhood. There is not currently a use or tenant for the florist building. Plan is to demolish it and look for a suitable tenant in a new building.

C:  (May St. resident) I spoke against this at zoning meeting because R1 to C1 “anything goes” commercial zoning is not good for our neighborhood in the long term, for the benefit of one individual/business. Don’t want to lose this fragile residential zoning in our area.

C: (May St. resident) I’ve walked the neighborhood at all times of day and see plenty of empty parking spots at Pellegrino’s and The Distillery, as many as 50 spots sitting empty. I see no abiding reason for more parking. Once it’s changed from residential to business, that can’t be changed.

R: We’re talking about peak, busy times. As a business, we need to take advantage of those times.

Q: If the Westfall lot is already zoned C1, why can’t you use that for your parking lot? Given the Gold St. development being proposed down the street and the fact that there’s no height restriction currently in C1 zoning, we have a legitimate concern.

R: We would rather have a pedestrian friendly use that fronts Mt. Hope Ave.

Response from Jason Haremza, Zoning Office, City of Rochester:

Parking on that corner is not permitted in this zoning district because it’s between a building and the street. There’s also a physical limitation on the size of the parcel to meet the parking lot requirements. The zoning office did recommend this solution. Otherwise, you’d have a divided parking lot in two different zoned parcels, a situation we want to avoid. Want to clarify that City Council will make the final decision on this.

C: (Mt. Hope Ave. resident) Given that we have a business owner with a good track record, that the City is supporting it, I do not believe we should not oppose it.

Q: Is the period for comment from public comment closed?

A: The public meeting already took place. You can still send your comments tonight, but City Council votes on this tomorrow night.

C: Peter Psyllos is a wonderful man and business owner but I don’t see why we need more parking in the neighborhood.

NBN6 Leadership Team comment:

There was a concern submitted about the meeting notes stating that the neighborhood had not been consulted. Want to clarify that the reference that it was not brought to the neighborhood referred to it not being brought to the NBN6 group specifically. We apologize for the mis-understanding, but want to mention that this is a volunteer run group and we do the best we can to accurately reflect the complex conversations that take place during the meetings.


  1. 601 S. Goodman Development – Steve DiMarzo, Mark IV Enterprises

Update given on current status of the project. View the presentation here.

Q: Who did the traffic study and who paid for it?

A: We did one, and the County did one as well.

C: That is already a very difficult stretch of road. Find it hard to believe that there will be no traffic impact.

R: What we’re talking about is for Uhlen/Karges Place to be narrowed and kept one-way from Goodman to S. Clinton.

Q: What will be the rent range?

A: They’re market rate apartments (studios, 1 bdrm, 2 bdrm) and will be priced accordingly.

C: Be mindful of the blind spot for seeing oncoming pedestrians coming from 490 overpass.

R: Thank you for the comment, which we’ll take into consideration.

Also noted that the sidewalk along Goodman will be pulled away from the curb to provide a bigger buffer from the curb and a nicer pedestrian environment.

Q: What’s going on with the Betlem parking lot?

Answer by Nancy Johns-Price: No permit has been submitted thus far.

This development project is on the agenda for the December 21st Zoning Board meeting. Postcard notifications will be going out shortly and more details will be posted on the City’s website once the staff report is done. Feedback letters/emails should be in written form and sent to Jill Symonds at


  1. Community Sharing

Visit Frederick Douglass Library webpage for all the programs and events happening this month.

Highland Park Neighborhood Association’s holiday social is on Dec 5 @ Dicky’s. Keep your eye out for more info by email and on our Facebook page.


  1. Neighborhood Service Center Reports – Nancy Johns-Price (SE) & John McMahon (SW)  

Updates submitted in writing by Southwest NSC office:

There is a new Code Enforcement Officer assigned to the area, Gustavo Quintana.  Gus brings knowledge, experience and a great energy.  We are pleased to have him and he has already been made aware of some of the neighborhood priorities.

Several neighborhoods in the SW are combining their efforts to install more Little Free Libraries. We are hoping to receive donated materials from Lowe’s and are planning to install a Little Free Pantry near our office as a sort of test to see how successful it is.

There are two more informational meetings for businesses or potential businesses to learn about loan and grant opportunities available from the City:

11/30/17 at Thomas P. Ryan Center (530 Webster Avenue), 5:30-6:30pm

1/10/18 at City Hall Chambers, 5:30-6:30pm

Work continues to take the neighborhood Leadership Training program to the next level. We hope to be able to arrange for nationally known speakers to present one or two day classes, facilitated through our non-profit partners.


  1. Gold Street & Mt. Hope Ave. Development – Alan Knauf, Duncan Frame & Craig Jensen

Presentation on The Lofts at Gold Street (1176 Mt. Hope Ave.), a mixed-use student suite residence. Click here to view the site plan drawings.

We’re coming to share a plan that’s been amended in response to neighborhood input with a smaller footprint, fewer units, preserving more green space, and adding underground parking.

Q: How many parking spots vs. bedrooms?

A: 44 spots and 92 units. We’re basing the parking need on research, including a national average of .4 cars/bed and the assumption of the other forms of transportation. Statistics are that 50% of UR students have cars. There’s no parking at the UR so we believe people will be biking and walking.

Several comments made in response:

-You’re underestimating the number of cars and the number of students that will be living there.

-This is high rent luxury student housing for upper classmen, so I suspect if they can afford the rent, they’re likely to have a car.

-We have experience with student housing in the neighborhood with a car per person (1-1 ratio), more people living in the units than are supposed to, and visitors who take up even more parking.

Q: What’s the commercial use you’re planning?

A: We don’t have a tenant yet, we’re not far enough along in the process.

C: Based on a comprehensive market study done in relation to the Terrence building, this far exceeds the need and demand for housing in our area. We don’t want more rental housing, we want more owner-occupied housing. Undergraduate students have no stake in the community and it’s not what we need. What you’re doing is building a frat house.

R: There is a demand for student housing and this will help meet that and perhaps relieve the demand on student housing in the neighborhood.

Feedback letters/emails about this project should be in written form and sent to Jason Haremza at before November 20th.



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