Dec 11 2017 Meeting Notes

Meeting Notes
December 11, 2017

Facilitator:  Rev. Judy Hay

Thank you to Rev. Judy Hay for providing refreshments for this meeting.

We need your support! If you or your neighborhood group is willing to provide refreshments for future meetings, please send us an email at Thanks and happy holidays to all!


Discussion notes are “coded” in the following way:
Q = Question
A = Answer
C = Comment
R = Response

1. Introductions

2. Crime Prevention Reports

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

  • 3 robberies – street robbery at 1380 Mt. Hope Ave, commercial robbery at Insomnia Cookies in College Town & Mt. Hope Ave. McDonalds truck delivery robbery
  • Tragic fatal hit and run on Wilson Blvd., suspect turned himself in and will be prosecuted

Central Section (South Wedge):

  • Two larcenies — package larceny and small business office robbery
  • No violent crimes in the area over last 30 days

Q: What are you doing about the homeless encampment on South Ave. on-ramp?
A: That is located on the private property of Spectrum & Bivona Child Advocacy Center. It’s been an ongoing conversation about what to do. We do regular outreach but it is a hard to serve homeless population and they want to be there. Those businesses don’t want to do anything about it. If they wanted them removed from the property, we would go in and force them to vacate the premises.

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

  • 3 burglaries – Highland Parkway residential, garage burglaries on Gregory Hill and Rockingham
  • 12 larcenies, including 7 car larcenies
  • Attempted bank robbery at Chase Bank on Monroe & Goodman

Captain Cuyler reported that at the end of December, Commander Timothy List will retire. Commander Joe Morabito will take over our area. Commander Riveria will oversee Tactical and Special Units.

Q: Can you speak to the Chief’s resignation?
A: The Mayor has asked several department heads, including the Chief to submit letters of resignation. She will then have the option of rehiring or selecting someone new for those positions. We are at a wait and see.

3. Snow Removal – Karen St. Aubin, Director of Operations & Parks, City of Rochester

After 3 inches of snow, City staff gets out there to start clearing the roads. After 4 inches, they will start sidewalk plowing. Up until that point, it is the responsibility of businesses and residents to keep the sidewalks clear in front of their storefronts and homes.

Ryan from Center for Disability Rights spoke about the need for clear sidewalks especially for people with disabilities. Ryan, who is wheelchair bound, gave testimonial about being stuck outside on a snowy sidewalk, unable to get into his apartment, and having to sleep in his car. He asked for everyone to do their part to help keep the sidewalks clear so everyone can be independent and get around. Even one inch of snow makes it more difficult for people with disabilities to travel on the sidewalks.

The City also asks people to respond when there is a “Parking Emergency” called so the way can be cleared for emergency vehicles on the narrower streets in the City. The City will call a Parking Emergency after there’s been a significant amount of snow over a period of time and the cars are parked too far from the curb and the street becomes unpassable. It’s usually announced in the late afternoon. People on those streets are asked to move their vehicles. Free parking is provided in the Mortimer Street Parking Garage and RTS shuttles provided to the residential streets under Parking Emergency.

PlowTrax is a public interface that allows you to see where we are in the city and what the city snow plows are doing. You can search for your own street and see when it was last plowed so you get an idea of when it might be coming next. The data is updated every 5 minutes.

You should call 311 to report an unplowed street. Word will get to Dept of Env Services so they can rectify any missed streets. You can do the same for sidewalks that look dangerous and we’ll come out to knock down any dangerous build-up situations.

The brochure “What to Know When There’s Snow” summarizes a lot of what the City would like you to know.

Q: Will you ask that contractors and the city snowplows will not create snow mounds/banks right next to the curb that obstruct parking and clearance in the street?
A: We do recognize this is an issue and try to communicate the importance to our snow plow operators

C: We find it very difficult when both the street plows and the sidewalk plows create snow mounds at the end of our driveway.
A: They do try to veer away from the driveways but it is a challenge when the snow has to go somewhere

C: The sidewalks under the 490 underpass don’t seem to be plowed and it gets a little scary to walk
R: They should be plowed and I will definitely look into that.

Q: Who is responsible for shoveling out bus stops?
A: The shelters are RTA property. We do send some of our staff to take care of high volume stops, although it’s not technically our responsibility.

C: Sidewalks around schools and school crossings are especially important.
R: Yes, we try to give those extra attention.

Q: What about the sidewalks all around Highland Park that are in front of a public entity (the County)?
A: The County is responsible for clearing those sidewalks. If there’s a problem with the County doing that adequately, I will look into it.

Q: Has the snow put off the leaf removal? What should we do at this point?
A: Bagging your leaves at this point is your best bet. If the snow clears up, we will get back out there, but that may not happen.

4. A conversation with at-large City Council members

Malik Evans:
Have been a public servant as a School Board member and excited to use my experience as a City Council Member. Economic development and young people are two of my passions.

Willie Lightfoot Jr.:
Small business owner on Jefferson Ave. Passionate about working with youth and the needs of small business, as well as the poor and homeless.

(Note: Mitch Gruber arrived late and did not have a chance to introduce himself)

Elaine Spaull:
10th Year on Council representing the 52,000+ citizens that live in this district. Continue spending my days as E.D. of the Center for Youth. Excited to welcome Malik, Willie & Mitch onto Council. They will be great additions.

Q: Harry Bronson wants to introduce legislation to lower the City speed limit, and City Council needs a home rule vote to pave the way for it. Do you support it?

Malik: I’d be in favor of it. People drive way to fast and are going 5-10 mph above the speed limit anyway.
Willie:  I would vote yes. I’m troubled by how fast and irresponsibly people are driving. Anything we can do to improve public safety, I am for. We have a lot more bikers to keep the streets safe for too.
Elaine: I’m supportive of it, but there is not support across the board. I have heard that it is looking like it will not be made citywide, but there may be a way for residents to petition on a neighborhood by neighborhood basis.

Q: Matt Haag send out a monthly e-newsletter that we have come to rely on. Is a newsletter something any of you would do to keep your constituents informed?

Willie: I’m big on communication. If I find I have the resources I will be happy to do that. I’ll reach out to Matt to find out how to do that.
Elaine: There’s a Council newsletter that’s posted quarterly on the City’s website so you may want to check that out.
Mitch: I also appreciated Matt’s newsletter and think it’s something every Council person should be doing. There are also other ways – social media, etc – that we can communicate to constituents.

C: We have been working for 5 years to build the first ever co-housing community in Rochester. We hope you will support it. The biggest barrier is finding a site. The City is sitting on some appropriate sites but we’ve been yanked around. We’ve run out of ideas for how to make it happen and may need to give it up, which would be a great lost opportunity for the city.

Malik: I appreciate the model and would like to support it.

C: I would like to see City Council members not override recommendations made by the Zoning commission unless you have a really good reason that has to do with the public good and not because you like a developer. I see spot zoning. I see neighborhoods under development pressure that need help defending our quality of life.

Mitch: I want to be an ally and responsive to citizens. I agree that the experts and professionals should be respected.

Q: What kind of impact will you have in helping the RCSD?

Willie: The 3 on 3 group that is a committee with representatives of the City and School Board to work collaboratively is important. I would like to explore what accountability we can institute tied to the $119M we currently hand over to the District with no questions asked. We also need to support programs like OASES that work with District students and families.
Malik: You do have limited influence as a Council Member, but there are great areas of collaboration and partnership we need to be working on. We can also use our bully pulpit to take a stand on critical issues.

C: I work for the Rochester Public Library. We could do so much more with more resources. Our branches need longer hours and more staffing.

Willie: It’s tough to find the resources when police & fire are the highest priority.

Q: Does City Council have a relationship with Great Schools for All? I’d love to see them getting more support.

Mitch: They’re not really engaging with Council to my knowledge, but I think they’re up to some really good stuff.

Q: Will City Council be talking with the County about getting more of our money from the hotel tax to support the City’s soccer stadium?

Elaine: I’ve been advocating for getting a fairer share for the City of the increased money coming into the County through that tax.
Willie: We also need to build a coalition to support the Mayor in fighting for more money in Albany

5. Neighborhood Service Center Reports – Nancy Johns-Price (SE)

Reminder that neighborhoods can do a mini-clean sweeps at any time even during the winter, just contact Nancy Johns-Price at

The Neighborhood & Business Development Commissioner Muhammad has invited the neighborhood leaders to meet with him this week to get their input.

We will be going out to neighborhoods soon to re-start the Comprehensive Plan update process.

6. Community Sharing

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

The Rochester Public Library is going to be undertaking a 10 Year Facilities Master Plan to look at all our services across the city. There will be opportunities for public input.

All are welcome to the SEAC Happy Hour this Thursday from 5:30-8:00 at Enright’s.


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