January 25, 2016
Supervisor’s column: Week of 1/25
I am dedicating this week’s column to the topic of the recently announced “for sale” listing of Shadow Pines and Shadow Lake golf courses. This has become a hot topic for the community and the Penfield Town Board.
First, I’ll provide a brief background. Shadow Pines and Shadow Lake are privately owned by the Dolomite Group, an Oldcastle Company. On January 13 both properties were listed for sale. As we understand, Shadow Pines closed as a business at the end of 2015. It is now being marketed as a 200-plus acre residential development property. Shadow Lake is being marketed as an operating golf course.
For the past 30 to 40 years Shadow Lake and Shadow Pines have been active golf courses. It’s what we know. Residents of Penfield and beyond have enjoyed decades of golf and outdoor recreation on those fairways. Many of us never imagined those properties being used for anything other than golf courses, just as we never imagined seeing buildings come down at Eastman Kodak. Both are notions most of us did not consider.
Yet despite being used as recreation spaces, both Shadow Pines and Shadow Lake have actually been zoned as residential since 1929. The current zoning is R-1-20, meaning one-half acre residential lots are permitted. It wasn’t done, but it was permitted.
Upon learning of the intended sale of the golf courses just a few weeks ago, the Penfield Town Board had immediate concerns about a large-scale residential development on the Shadow Pines property. Specifically, we are concerned about roadways, sanitary and storm sewer capacity, overall drainage, EPOD impacts, school district impacts, public safety, and proximity to an active quarry. Preserving the historic nature of this part of town is also a concern.
So what’s going on as I write this column? Many residents have already informally shared their reactions to Oldcastle’s decision to sell the properties. On behalf of our residents, the Penfield Town Board is proposing to introduce a local law to place a moratorium on all development of the Shadow Pines and Shadow Lake properties for a minimum of six to twelve months to slow the process down so we can better understand and explore all possible scenarios and impacts.
To do this we have to craft a local law and hold a public hearing on the proposed moratorium. The process is detailed and deliberate, and it will involve formal milestones over the next several months.
Once a moratorium is approved, the Town Board would then look to establish a committee with a cross-section of interested residents and involved agencies and charge them to study any potential uses and impacts of these properties. Any resident who would like to serve on this committee should send an email expressing their interest directly to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At the end of the study period, the committee would report all findings and recommendations to the Town Board for action.
I will continue to keep residents updated as we become aware of—and verify—information by using www.penfield.org and other town communications.
Be well and stay warm,
January 20, 2016
A Message from Supervisor LaFountain: Penfield Proposes Moratorium on Development of Shadow Pines and Shadow Lake Properties
The recently announced sale of Shadow Pines and Shadow Lake golf courses has raised many questions and concerns from all members of the Penfield Town Board and the community.
Last Wednesday (January 13) the Dolomite Group listed Shadow Pines, Shadow Lake, and Greystone golf courses for sale. Shadow Pines has been closed as a business and is being marketed as a 200-plus acre residential development property. Shadow Lake and Greystone are being marketed as operating golf courses.
Shadow Lake and Shadow Pines have been operating as active golf courses in Penfield in the range of 30 to 40 years; all indications have been the properties would continue to be used as recreational open space.
However, the underlying zoning for the Shadow Pines property is R-1-20 (and has been zoned as such since 1929), meaning one-half acre lots.
The Penfield Town Board has serious concerns about a large-scale residential development and the impacts it could have on this area of town and throughout Penfield. Specific and immediate concerns include demands on traffic, roadways, drainage, utilities, infrastructure, the school district, and public safety.
To address these concerns on behalf of our residents, the Penfield Town Board proposes to introduce a local law to place a moratorium on all development of the Shadow Pines and Shadow Lake properties for a minimum of six to twelve months.
If the moratorium is approved, the Town Board would then look to establish a committee of interested residents and involved agencies and charge them to study any potential uses and impacts of these properties.
At the end of the study period, the committee would report all findings and recommendations to the Town Board for action.
I will continue to share updates with residents as we become aware of—and verify—information by using www.penfield.org and other methods of communicating with residents.
January 19, 2016
Supervisor’s column: Week of 1/18
A “hat trick” in hockey is when a player scores three goals in a game. Last weekend for Troop 260 the “hat trick” meant that three more young men received the rank of Eagle! I had the honor and privilege of attending the Eagle Court of Honor for Luke Kusmierz, Timothy A. Reyda, and Martin L. Petrauskas. This makes Eagle Scout number 81, 82 and 83 for Troop 260—a real tribute to the scouts, parents, and leaders.
Luke’s Eagle project consisted of the construction of a go-green composting structure for the Ronald McDonald House. This structure provides organic compost for use in their vegetable garden. Luke also built a potting bench to aid in the planting process.
Tim’s project was to organize volunteers to clean and repaint the hallways at St. Joseph’s School. The project used 350 man hours to complete 20,000 square feet of walls, which saved the school approximately $5,000 in overall costs.
Martin’s project benefitted the St. Irenaeus Center on Blossom Road, where he built two compost bins, created a path through the flower garden, and extended another area of the garden for the residents’ enjoyment.
Penfield continues to be a leader in the number of Eagle Scouts recipients across the county. On behalf of the entire community of Penfield, I would like to congratulate Luke, Tim, and Martin on attaining the rank of Eagle, you should be very proud. Also a special recognition to the parents, family members, fellow scouts, and scout leaders for their support, encouragement, and involvement with these three young men. You have made a difference!
We are fortunate that the winter weather has been mild to date. As we are starting to see a light dusting of snow in the mornings for our commutes to work and school, I am reminded by our DPW employees that parking on any roadway in the town from 2:00 to 7:00 a.m. is not permitted through April 1 to allow our crews too effectively salt and clear the roadways for save travel. Thank you in advance for your support on this important safety matter.
I have previously mentioned the topic of Penfield TV in this column and at several town board meetings; however, it bears repeating for everyone’s information. In late September 2015 our Penfield Community TV (PCTV) station experienced a failure of its playback system. While we are still able to broadcast town meetings live and make them available on the website for viewing at any time, we are unable to re-broadcast on channels 12 and 15 at this time. The replacement costs are approximately $65,000 for this failed equipment. We are exploring different options including working with other towns in a partnering effort with playback equipment to ensure we are best managing tax dollars. I will continue to keep you updated on this matter in the coming months.
Not an outdoor enthusiast at this time of the year with the snow and cold, but you do not want to be a couch potato? Consider the many aquatic wellness programs offered through Penfield Recreation such as lap swim and water walking, water yoga, family open swim, group and private swim lessons, competitive swim, and more! For more information please review the PenRec brochure pages 8–11 or go to www.penfieldrec.org and sign-up!
Reminder…there is a great lineup of programs for our young residents during February and April breaks. You may register the week-long program or by the day. For more information check out all of the offerings at www.penfieldrec.org.
The Daytime Education at Recreation (DEAR) programs continue to grow and expand. I encourage you to look at the variety of topics offered. We receive wonderful feedback on the quality of these programs. For more information, please consult the PenRec brochure or www.penfieldrec.org.
Until next week, be well and be safe!
January 11, 2016
Supervisor’s column: Week of 1/11
Last weekend I had the honor of attending the swearing-in ceremony for Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo. When I served in the Monroe County Legislature, I had the pleasure of working with Cheryl. She is a person of high integrity who consistently looks for ways to better the overall community of Monroe. It is important to have a strong relationship between county and local governments and I look forward to working with Cheryl as our county executive.
I also attended the swearing-in of the twenty-nine county legislators including my legislator, Debbie Drawe, representing the 9th district and our newest legislator, George Hebert, representing the 15th district and succeeding my good friend Dan Quatro who was term-limited. I look forward to working for the good of Penfield with both Debbie and George.
Lastly, local elected officials were sworn-in on Wednesday, January 6 including Linda Kohl and Rob Quinn for the Penfield Town Board; John Lomenzo, Jr. as Town Justice, and myself as your Town Supervisor. Following the ceremony the town board held the 2016 organizational meeting. Each year at this meeting all annual appointments are made, wage and salary schedules are adopted, banking arrangements are established, contracts are adopted, consultants are named, and fees established. We all look forward to serving you in 2016.
There have been several inquiries about Penfield Community TV (PCTV) channels 12 and 15 not broadcasting 24/7 as in the past. While I have reported about this at town board meetings and with other groups and organizations, I want to take a moment to update everyone on the current status. In late September of 2015 the playback system for PCTV failed. While we can still broadcast our meetings live and make video available for viewing on our website within 36-to-48 hours of the meeting, we are not able to re-play or re-broadcast meetings on your TV on channels 12 and 15 as we have in the past.
The cost to replace the playback system is more than $65,000. The town board has asked the PCTV team and me to explore all available alternatives, including partnering with other adjacent communities, as part of the governor’s encouragement of shared services. As technology advances are made, we also want to consider what other means of communications could or should be offered to expand opportunities for residents to access to their local government. While TV is an important media, the board continues to hear the need for additional quicker, faster, and cheaper ways to gain information from local government. Over the next several months I will keep you posted through this column as we look at various alternatives for enhancing and/or expanding ways to get information into the hands of Penfield residents.
February and April breaks are just around the corner. The Penfield Recreation Department has a complete lineup of activities for our young residents for those weeks. Programs include arts and crafts, special events, and physical and recreational activities. Check out page 19 of the winter/spring 2016 brochure for more information and details on all programs. You can also go to www.penfieldrec.org to view the brochure in detail and register.
On December 31 I attended the North East Joint Fire Department’s north station dedication ceremony located at 600 Phillips Road. The North East Fire District services the towns of Penfield and Webster. I would like to congratulate the fire commissioners, staff, and volunteers of the North East District on this wonderful new station that will serve our community for decades to come. Be well and be safe!
Until next week, continue to enjoy the relatively nice weather for this time of the year, it certainly is making for a shorter winter.
January 4, 2016
Supervisor’s column: Week of 1/4
Happy New Year to all Penfield families!
Now is the time many of us are thinking about New Year’s resolutions like dieting, a new exercise routine or getting more rest. The Town’s Employee Wellness Team asked me to remind Penfield residents of a very easy habit to adopt that yields wonderful health benefits for everyone—drinking water! Almost two-thirds of our body is made up of water, so it is not surprising that when we don’t drink enough water our health and well-being may suffer. What are the key benefits of drinking at least eight glasses of water each day? Hydration helps with weight loss, supports your heart, boosts your energy, stops headaches and dizziness, fights infections, clears your skin, keeps you regular, improves concentration, and makes exercise more effective. This resolution should be easy to make and keep, so grab your favorite water bottle and join in; you will be amazed how easy it is and how good you will feel.
The winter weather has been slow in coming this season; however, we all know that it is just around the corner. I am reminded by the three fire districts supporting the Penfield community, as well as some safety-conscious residents, that all neighborhoods should adopt a fire hydrant this winter season. Once you have cleared your driveway and walkways, please consider clearing snow from the hydrant nearest your property. If there is an emergency in your neighborhood that requires the use of a fire hydrant and firefighters have to clear the hydrant before use response time will be delayed and damage will be more severe. Please take the extra few minutes to clear hydrants in your neighborhood…thank you in advance for assisting our emergency services providers.
Mark your calendar for the annual “Indoor Hike” to be held Saturday, February 13 from 10:00 a.m. to noon in the town hall auditorium. This free program is open to the public and has been a big hit with all hikers as they are updated about the many hiking programs and activities planned for 2016. There will also be an outdoor adventure featured speaker. I hope to see you there!
By the time you are reading this column you should have received your 2016 County/Town Tax Bill. Each year I prepare a supervisor’s message sharing information you may find helpful as you review your bill. This message is available online at www.penfield.org under Quick Links. If you have any questions regarding your bill, please contact the Tax Receiver at 340-8626. I welcome feedback on any improvements you may have on the information contained in this message that may help better explain the elements of your tax bill.
As we close out 2015 and prepare for 2016, Recreation Director Chris Bilow and his team have shared a summary of 2015 registrations. Once all walk-in registrations are totaled and added to online figures, we will exceed more than 10,000 participants for the first time in our history. Last year we offered 869 programs with 9,905 individuals registered in the programs. For comparison, in 2014 we offered 842 programs with 9,203 total registered individuals. The Recreation Department continues to grow and expand program offerings to meet residents’ needs. Great job team, you make a big difference in our great community in so many ways.
Until next week, please remember to drink your eight glasses of water each day!