Monday, December 9, 2013

Week Ahead: University Ave. apts, downtown master plan, Medley penalty, O'Flynn raise and day care cuts, Pittsford lawsuits, Education rallies

Posted By on Mon, Dec 9, 2013 at 11:25 AM

Morgan Management has only one final bureaucratic hurdle to clear in its quest to build a 99-unit apartment complex at 933 University Avenue, in the East Avenue Preservation District. Morgan will be in front of the city’s Preservation Board this week — which has already given the project its unofficial support — for the final sign off.

The project’s opposition, which is led by the George Eastman House, says that the apartment building would be too big, that it would disrupt the view from the historic Eastman property, and that the complex is not permitted under the planned development district which was created in 2011. They also cite potential parking problems.

Project supporters say that Morgan has done everything asked of it to mitigate concerns — the design has gone through several revisions. They also say that the project will be good for University Avenue, and that the upscale apartments will attract young people and empty-nesters.

City of Rochester planners with the Department of Neighborhood and Business Development will hold the Southeast Quadrant Neighborhood Outreach Forum on the new downtown master plan at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, December 11, at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park (formerly Manhattan Square Park) lodge, 353 Court Street.

Planners will share proposed content for the updated master plan and seek further input before the final document is completed next year.

The forum will begin with an open house and will be followed by a presentation and question-and-answer session with city staff. There will also be a short demonstration on the city’s new neighborhood data map of economic and social indicators. Christine Carrie Fien

The East Irondequoit Central School District will likely finalize a penalty payment for Medley Centre’s developer during its meeting tonight.

The empty mall has a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement with the school district, the Town of Irondequoit, and the Monroe County Industrial Development Agency. Earlier this year, developer Scott Congel missed an investment milestone laid out in that agreement, which triggered the penalty payment.

The East Irondequoit school board has put the penalty payment issue — technically called a supplemental payment — on its agenda for tonight’s meeting, which starts at 6 p.m. and will be held at district’s Central Office, 600 Pardee Road. The board could assess Congel a payment in excess of $3 million, though meeting materials published on the district’s website don’t include specifics.

The Monroe County Legislature will vote on a budget for 2014 at its Tuesday night meeting.

County Executive Maggie Brooks has proposed a $1.2 billion spending plan which would keep the county property tax rate at $8.99 per $1,000 assessed value.

But two parts of the budget are particularly controversial.

Democratic legislators and some members of the public have expressed outrage over a proposed $37,000 raise for Sheriff Patrick O’Flynn. During a Legislature committee meeting last week, O’Flynn insisted that his salary is “aligned” with the district attorney’s salary. His salary should increase because the DA’s salary, which is set by state law, is increasing, he said.

Democratic Minority Leader Carrie Andrews said she’d introduce an amendment at Tuesday’s meeting to remove the raise from the budget.

Also: children’s advocates and representatives from the faith community are drawing attention to a $1.3 million cut to local funding for child day care subsidies for low-income working families that’s included in the budget. They’ve asked county officials to restore the funding and to add another $600,000.

The local cut comes on top of a $725,000 cut in state funding. County officials say that no child currently receiving subsidies will lose them, but that new children will be enrolled only if money is available.

The Legislature meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the County Office Building, 39 West Main Street. Anyone who wants to speak during the meeting's public forum must sign up in advance by calling the Legislature Clerk's Office at (585) 753-1950.

On Thursday, a judge will hear arguments in two lawsuits related to 75 Monroe Avenue, called the Westport Crossing project in the Village of Pittsford.

Decisions are not expected right away.

In one lawsuit, Friends of Pittsford Village are asking the judge to strike down special permits for the project, which the village board granted in November.

The other lawsuit is more complicated. After the village planning board gave the project’s developers preliminary site plan approval, Friends of Pittsford Village and two residents filed an appeal with the village board.

Pittsford has a law on the books that lets residents or any interested party appeal a planning board decision with the village board.

The developer sued the village over the appeal and is asking the judge to strike that local law down.

State Supreme Court Justice John Ark is presiding over the cases and the arguments are scheduled to start at 10 a.m. Jeremy Moule

Teachers, parents, and education activists around the country are holding rallies today to protest what they say is the overuse of standardized testing, reliance on test results to evaluate teachers, and the increased influence of private business on education.

Events are scheduled in New York State in Buffalo, Albany, Syracuse, and Rochester. A rally will be held in Rochester at New York State United Teachers office, 30 North Union Street, at 4 p.m. K-12 teachers and parents are scheduled to speak. Tim Louis Macaluso

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