UPDATE, May 7, 2013: As a commenter pointed out, the letter below is actually a form letter created by the Eastman House and sent to City by Craft Company No. 6 owners Lynn Allinger and Gary Stam. City regrets the oversight.
For City Publisher Mary Anna Towler's opinion on the project, go here.
respectfully write in opposition to the proposed construction of
an apartment building at 933 University Avenue, on the current site
of the Monroe Voiture
(40 & 8) veterans' club.
I oppose this development for the
following specific reasons:
- 1) A
four-story apartment building is fundamentally inconsistent with the
property's location in the East Avenue Preservation District, the first
preservation district in Rochester, which is generally considered to be
one of the best preserved urban neighborhoods in the United States.
- 2) Since
1975, within the East Avenue Preservation District, the Rochester
Preservation Board has permitted the construction of an aggregate of fewer
than 100 residential units, none of which were in a building taller
than two stories. The proposed apartment building, with more than
100 apartments, would more than double this number.
- 3) The
proposed project would have a dramatically adverse impact on the
surroundings and viewshed of George Eastman's house
and estate--one of only two National Historic Landmarks in Rochester (the
other being the Susan B. Anthony House)--which are themselves subject to
strict historic preservation guidelines.
- 4) The
building's proximity to Eastman House's carefully restored,
conserved and interpreted landscape is inappropriate and would negatively
impact the experience of its visitors, including city residents, who are
welcome to use its grounds at their leisure.
- 5) The
proposed apartment building would be the largest residential building in
the area and would not be in keeping with the community fostered by the
Neighborhood of the Arts or with ArtWalk's
carefully nurtured streetscape.
- 6) The
proposed apartment building is too large for the lot and would leave very
little open space on the property.
- 7) The
development plan submitted to the Preservation Board would require the
removal of many large trees, including some trees that are more than 100
years in age and are rare in an urban setting.
- 8) The
ratio of apartments to parking lot spaces designated for the building is
inadequate and would create an on-street parking problem that would make
parking very difficult for neighborhood residents and visitors.
- 9) The
additional traffic generated by the apartments' residents would exacerbate
existing traffic congestion at peak hours on University Avenue, which has
only two lanes. This will aggravate the additional traffic from the
new Wegman's on University Avenue.
- 10) People
exiting on University Avenue from George Eastman House or the Greek
Orthodox Church already face heavy traffic, and there have been several
accidents. Placing a large apartment building between these public
institutions will make exiting from any of the three locations difficult.
- 11) Both
the Greek Orthodox Church and George Eastman House have driveways that
extend from University Avenue to East Avenue. Residents of the new
apartment building would likely to use these driveways as shortcuts.
- 12) This
property is located two doors down from a fire station and the increased
traffic congestion could present a danger for the community.
- 13) The
proposal is not in compliance with zoning requirements because no loading
area is provided. The moving vans that would frequently be parked in
the street directly adjacent to exits from George Eastman House and the
Greek Orthodox Church would be unsafe and inappropriate for the East
As outlined above, the proposed project
would be highly detrimental to George Eastman House, one of Rochester's most
important cultural institutions and a major tourist attraction. New
apartment buildings could be successfully developed on a wide range of
different locations within the city. There is no reason to permit this
project within the East Avenue Preservation District, immediately next to a
National Historic Landmark.
Furthermore, the proposed apartment
building would not comply with the zoning for 933 University Avenue.
In 2011, the Eastman House, Hutchison House and Monroe Voiture
properties were rezoned as Planned Development District 14--George Eastman
House, in anticipation of the future expansion of the museum. The purpose
and intent of the new zoning was to "recognize and permit a defined area for
the delivery of programs and community services offered by George Eastman House
and the Monroe Voiture 111." The proposed
apartment building clearly does not further the specified purpose or intent.
For the above reasons, I am adding my
voice to those of many other interested citizens who insist the application for
development be denied.
Allinger & Gary Stam
Owners, Craft Company No.6
785 University Avenue
Rochester, NY 14607