BY CHRISTINE CARRIE FIEN
The Rochester Subway blog is accusing Mayor Tom Richards of an “assault on preservation” based on documents leaked to the blog. The documents have to do with a planned overhaul of the way the city designates landmarks and issues area variances and special permits.
A city spokesperson says the overhaul is in its early stages and the documents represent a “first blush from a staffer.”
“That language hasn’t been vetted and likely will be changed several ways to Sunday before it’s all said and done,” Richards spokesperson Gary Walker said in an e-mail.
However, zoning code changes pertaining to how area variances and special permits are issued are on the City Planning Commission’s August 6 meeting agenda.
It is difficult to discern the intentions of the leaked documents because they’re full of underlines and cross outs, but Rochester Subway interprets them to mean that the city’s Zoning Board would no longer be required to meet certain conditions before it grants a variance for demolition of a Building of Historic Value. The conditions would essentially become guidelines.
“If inconvenient, they can be ignored!” writes Rochester Subway.
The blog also states that private residents would no longer be able to make a landmark application, unless they own the property. (A hearing date on changes to the landmark designation process hasn’t been set yet.)
Richards started talking about an overhaul in the fallout over the Cataract Street brewery project. A last-minute application from a private citizen to make a historic 19th century brew house a landmark threatened to derail the project. Rochester Subway was one of the most vocal supporters of the landmark application, but ultimately the proposal failed and the building has since been demolished.
The August 6 Planning Commission meeting is at 6:30 p.m. in City Council Chambers, 30 Church Street.