The City of Rochester Planning Commission received the final draft of 'Rochester 2034' Monday evening.
The comprehensive plan includes a vision statement, 11 guiding principles, six initiative areas, and 20 action plans with 88 goals. It also covers 26 different areas including housing, transportation, parks and rec and more.
“It’s a very positive document. It’s meant to inspire hope in the city, and meant to make people proud of where we are, where we’ve been, where we’re going," said Rochester Director of Planning Dorraine Kirkmire. "And really change that negative narrative we hear so much when we talk about our hometown, really change that up and become positive and hopeful.”
After three months of public comment, the updated draft reflected more than 600 comments from the community.
“There’s a buzz in our community about it, which usually you don’t see that kind of thing or interest in your comprehensive plan," Kirkmire said. "But there’s a lot of interest, which is exciting. But also includes more of the nuanced topics that the community is interested in hearing about, like urban gardens, urban agriculture, community gardens and vacant land.”
Former Commissioner of Community Development Tom Argust was last in the public sector 15 years ago, but came to hear the plan as a resident. He is looking forward to the future.
“The last comprehensive plan was 2010, Rochester 2010, and here we are in 2019 and this is the first time the city has updated since 2010, so that’s an exciting thing,” Argust said.
Others like bike commuter Susan Levin are excited about what the plan means for people like her who use bicycles in the city.
“They talked about the maintenance of the trails. So my commute is on some of the trails, and it’d be great to have them cleared during the winter so I could bike on the trail instead of the street," Levin said.
But Upper Mt. Hope Neighborhood Association President Bruce Mellen said he’s reserving judgement on the plan.
“There’s going to be a lot of reading, and my biggest concern is where did some of our comments and a number of other people go," Mellen said. "And will we be able to interact with Dorraine and her team?"
He’s also concerned about what the plan means for zoning in his neighborhood.
“Our Main Street has been designated as a mixed use. And as a result, we’re concerned about even four stories being adjacent or butting up to a single-family R1 existing neighborhood," Mellen said.
Still, residents are glad their city is looking so far ahead to its 200 birthday.
“There’s a lot of great stuff in there, and I love the fact that Rochester is thinking forward anyway," Levin said. "That we’re not just doing the next two or ten years, but even a decade and a half out is just a great idea.”
The Planning Commission will vote on the draft in October, which if approved, will be sent to city council for consideration and final approval.