February 20, 2019
Supervisor's column February 20, 2019
I would like to recognize and thank the guest columnists that stepped up and prepared such wonderful columns while I was out of the office with a knee replacement. Our department heads are true professionals who work so very hard to support Penfield in every aspect of the day-to-day operations of local government…thank you team, your actions do not go unnoticed!
If you are looking for a night off from cooking, mark your calendars for a delicious pasta dinner! Members of the Penfield Community Victory Garden (PCVG) and Boy Scout Troop 230 will host a pasta dinner on Wednesday, February 27, from 4:30 until the pasta is gone at the Penfield Community Center. Eat in or take out! Tickets are available at the Penfield Recreation office or at the door for $8 per person (kids 3 and under are free). There will also be a raffle to support the PCVG. For questions or tickets, please call 340-8655, option 0. I hope to see you there.
Over the past several weeks, employees of the Department of Public Works have been dealing with a variety of quickly changing weather conditions including snow, high winds with drifting snow, and sleet with freezing rain. These dedicated folks work extended hours to clear roads and sidewalks for the safety of our residents traveling to work, school, and important appointments. I would like to recognize and thank them for their service to our community…great job all!
You might have seen or heard some references to the recently adopted Governor’s budget and its unprecedented cuts to the unrestricted state revenue sharing program known as Aid and Incentives to Municipalities (AIM) to the tune of $59 million, effectively gutting the program to all local governments. What does this mean for Penfield? Our impact amounts to $142,000. Why is this such a blow to local governments? This action was taken after all of our budgets were proposed and adopted for 2019. We do everything possible to project expenses and revenues for the year as we are putting our budgets together. The decision to cut AIM funds without any notice tells me that Albany is not our government partner as we so often hear from the governor’s office! I understand and respect that government at all levels must control and work towards reduced spending; however, to pull this historic funding with no warning in the eleventh hour is poor management by the governor and the legislative bodies in Albany.
What’s next and how do we address this $142,000 shortfall? I will be working with all department heads to identify areas to cut back and review proposals with the town board to minimize the impact on overall plans for 2019. I will keep everyone updated as new or additional information comes to light on this matter.
One last plug for the Monday, February 25 Penfield Symphony Orchestra concert entitled “A Suite for a Sweet” to be held at the Penfield High School Auditorium at 7:30 PM. For more information on this concert and remaining programs for the year, please visit www.penfieldsymphony.org.
The next scenic trek sponsored by the Penfield Trails Committee will be held on Saturday, March 9 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM at the Shadow Pines property. Join the committee as they explore the hiking trail developed thus far. Meet at the parking lot adjacent to the Clark House off Whalen Road and look for the hike signs.
The Penfield Trails Committee is always seeking volunteers to serve on its planning committee, as well as volunteers to do manual labor for trail maintenance. For more information, please call the Penfield Recreation Department at 340-8655, option 0.
Bri-Pen Senior Rides is always looking for volunteers. Support is especially important this time of year with a number of residents vacationing in the warm weather and not available to help until March or April. If you would like to help as a driver or volunteer to dispatch one day a week from your home, please call 340-8674. Your involvement will help a Brighton or Penfield senior by getting them to a medical appointment, religious services, or the town recreation center.
Until next week, enjoy the longer days and keep your fingers crossed for milder weather!
February 12, 2019
Supervisor’s guest column from Heidi Boehl, Department Head, Building/Fire Marshal/Zoning
The priority of the Town of Penfield Building Inspectors, Code Enforcement Officers, Zoning Administration, and Fire Marshals is to promote and protect the general health, safety, and welfare of the community as we progress into the future socially, physically, and economically. We enforce the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code, Town Laws, Town Zoning Ordinances, and Town Design Criteria. Our Building Inspectors, Code Enforcement Officers and Fire Marshals are out in the field year-round conducting periodic inspections, required construction inspections, and addressing citizen concerns to ensure the safety of residents, families, and visitors to establishments in our community.
From Building and Zoning:
With February recess just around the corner, now is a good time to submit your building permit application for our staff to review. Once spring arrives, many homeowners tend to get the “spring bug” and decide to enhance their homes with a new deck, pool, shed or a remodel/addition of a room or a few rooms. Here are a few reminders as you plan your next project.
Property owners are responsible for ensuring permits are obtained PRIOR to work being started when they intend to:
· construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, demolish, or change the occupancy of a building or structure
· install, enlarge, alter, repair, remove, convert or replace any electrical or plumbing system
· install a solid fuel burning heating appliance, chimney or flue in any dwelling unit (installation is regulated by New York State Building Codes)
The property owner is also responsible for ensuring that all required inspections have been performed—including the final inspection—and that a Certificate of Occupancy/Certificate of Compliance has been issued. We strongly urge property owners to confirm with the building department that all inspections have been completed and that a Certificate of Occupancy/Certificate of Compliance has been issued prior to final payment to a contractor. If you do not find a copy of a Certificate of Occupancy/Certificate of Compliance for a completed project, please call our department at (585)340-8636 to confirm compliance status and to obtain a copy for your records. Failure to complete this process will complicate future projects and delay real estate transactions.
From Code Enforcement:
Our Code Enforcement officers are busy monitoring and enforcing a variety of applicable ordinances, codes, and regulations related to zoning, land use, nuisance housing, building codes, health and safety, and other matters of public concern. The New York State Code states that residents shall maintain clean, safe, and sanitary structures and exterior of one’s property. Here are a few reminders to help keep our town looking great.
· All garbage is required to be kept in approved containers such as totes, dumpsters, trash cans.
· A maximum of one unregistered or uninspected vehicle is permitted, however it must be parked in the driveway and owned by the resident.
· A resident may keep and maintain a compost pile consisting of organic materials including leaves and grass clippings on their property provided it is 10 feet from the property line and not obstructing drainage or utility access.
· One accessory structure is allowed on the property.
Let’s all work together and help our neighbors towards a common goal. Help Mrs. Smith who just lost her husband by mowing her lawn, or help Mr. Jones who just had hip replacement surgery and is “too proud” to ask for assistance by bringing his garbage in from the curb. A strong neighborhood means better peace of mind for all who live and work there.
From our Fire Marshals:
As winter is not over quite yet, we want to remind everyone to help keep fire hydrants clear of snow. Please discuss this with your neighbors and adopt a hydrant in your area to protect your neighborhood. Hydrants that are clearly visible and accessible to emergency responders will help them get water on a fire more quickly than if they have to search for and clear a hydrant that may not even be the closest to a burning structure. Snow should be cleared three feet all the way around the hydrant with a clear path to the roadway.
It is equally important to keep vents from high efficiency furnaces and water heaters clear of snow and debris. These type of vents typically terminate within a few feet of ground level on the outside of the structure. If these vents are obstructed by snow, the appliance served by the vent will begin to malfunction. This malfunction could cause excess carbon monoxide (CO) to build up in the structure. High levels of CO can cause illness and/or death. When clearing your driveway of snow, take your shovel for a walk around your house to complete this critical task.
Keeping exits clear of snow is not just an issue for commercial buildings. It is important to clear the exits in your own home as well. This includes shoveling your front sidewalk and porch, regardless of how much you use it. In an emergency, you want to have a minimum of two ways out of your home at all times. Clearing more than two exits is even better! This can include a back door leading to a deck or patio. Keep a path cleared of snow leading from the door, across the deck/patio and into the yard. A cleared path to the front of the house will help emergency services access your home if needed. If you live in a rental, apartment, or a location where you are not responsible for clearing snow and you notice an issue, report it to your landlord or maintenance contractor. If the situation is not resolved and you believe it to be a life hazard please contact my office; we will investigate and ask the responsible party to remedy the hazard as well.
Supporting our Community:
Do you know there is a drop off bin for The Penfield Ecumenical Food Shelf (PEFS) at the town hall? It is located in the Town Hall atrium and is decorated by the season. Right now it is decorated with Valentine’s Day in mind. Stop in and drop off donations of non-perishable food as we express our kindness to those in need. At the end of every month we take it over to the food shelf on Jackson Rd. Thank you in advance for supporting this wonderful resource in our community…it makes a difference to so many lives.
February 12, 2019
Penfield Community Victory Garden Pasta Dinner
Penfield Community Victory Garden, in conjunction with Boy Scout Troop #230, will hold the first annual Pasta Dinner and Raffle Fundraiser on Wednesday, February 27, 4:30 pm until sold out, at Penfield Community Center, 1985 Baird Road, Penfield. Eat in or take out!
Tickets are $8.00 each, and kids under 3 are free. Tickets may be purchased in advance at Penfield Recreation department, or at the door.
This event will raise funds for Penfield Community Victory Garden’s operating budget. Penfield Community Victory Garden is run completely by volunteers, and is designed and operated to provide Penfield residents with an opportunity to grow their own ORGANIC based vegetables, flowers, and herbs for their own consumption or for the needy. The garden also provides for the development of the Penfield community by working together to improve the garden, sharing knowledge and techniques of organic gardening, and managing the garden through the PCV Garden volunteer committee. The garden is located on a 3.3-acre piece of town-owned property at 1748 Five Mile Line Road.
Volunteers are always needed for many aspects of the planning and oversight of the garden, as well as manual labor. No experience necessary!
For more information, or to purchase dinner tickets, please call Penfield Recreation at (585) 340-8655.
February 8, 2019
Family Winter Snow Night Out - CANCELLED
In order to communicate with vendors, volunteers, and staff in a timely manner, it was decided on Friday, February 15 that the Family Snow Night Out event would be canceled. The lack of projected weekend snowfall and Friday’s conditions of ice and mud at the event site were contributing factors in the decision making. The Rec Dept will be looking to reschedule the event in late February or March, so please keep monitoring the recreation website for event updates!
The public is invited to join Penfield Recreation for a Family Winter Snow Night Out on Tuesday, February 19, 6:00 to 8:00 PM at Harris Whalen Park. Come play in the snow under the February Snow Moon!
This unique nighttime experience at Harris Whalen Park will include snow games, building snow sculptures, sledding in the moonlight, snowshoeing on moonlit trails, staying warm by a fire, and viewing the February Snow Moon through a telescope (weather permitting). Snowshoes will be available to borrow. Participants are asked to bring a flashlight or headlamp for snowshoeing, and a sled for sledding. Warm refreshments will be available!
"With the winter season's colder weather keeping many people indoors more often than not, this family winter event will showcase options to explore the outdoors at our local parks," said Andrew Urckfitz, assistant recreation director. "Bundle up and beat the cabin fever with fun a winter snow night out in Penfield with your family!"
This event is free and all ages are invited. Sponsored by Penfield Recreation and Wegmans, our wellness partner.
For more information, please call Penfield Recreation at (585) 340-8655, option 0
February 4, 2019
Supervisor's guest column from Eric Tait, Director of DPW, Feb 4, 2019
Part I: Winter Review
The Farmer’s Almanac accurately predicted the fall and early winter weather being that of above average temperatures and wet conditions. With that said, our recent frosty forecast has been a bit of a surprise. On January 19, the snow began falling at a steady rate for the next four days. In total, we received approximately 17 inches of snow, at times wet and heavy. Just as the snowfall seemed to lighten up, the rain began and made for slippery and sloppy road conditions. All DPW crews were hands-on throughout the event. Like many residents, we were also presented with challenges including the weight and moisture content of the snow, the extended period that it took to accumulate, a number of cars parked in the road or abandoned, and some equipment breakdowns.
Throughout the storm and winter so far, the DPW has worked to keep all roads in the town open and passable with 18 trucks continuously deployed to plow and salt their routes. Other loaders and smaller trucks have been used to clear parking lots, doorways, and assist with some of the smaller cul-de-sacs and circles. Our parks team cleared primary sidewalks, and the DPW clerks fielded numerous storm-related calls and relayed priorities to the foremen.
In all, the DPW team has worked hundreds of hours and spread nearly 4,000 tons of salt to date in an effort keep all local, county and state roads, sidewalks, and town facilities open and passable for emergency responders and residents this winter.
Prior to our most recent storm, DPW crews have also been busy working to ensure public safety by addressing concerns and performing tree work at the former Shadow Pines golf course property. On September 1, 2018, the “front nine” portion of the property was opened up to the public and on February 1, 2019, the “back nine” portion was open to public access. With that, the entire property is now available for passive recreational use. As our crews continue wrapping up tree work on the property, please be cautious and give us plenty of room to work.
Hopefully Mother Nature is done with the wild weather but we’ll be ready either way. Let’s move on to spring news.
Part II: Spring Seasonal News
Once winter is truly gone, we will attend to spring chores including: filling potholes, repairing lawn damage from town plows, and repairing or replacing mailboxes damaged by our plow blades (not snow). We will also repair sidewalk damage, trim trees, and clean storm water drainage ponds and sewer systems.
Need mulch? Our mulch pile is currently stocked in the parking area on Columbus Crossing near the Town Hall. We will continue to replenish the pile throughout the spring and summer. This is a free service for Penfield residents in partnership with Monroe County DES. After grinding all the fall and winter debris we should have an impressive supply.
As a reminder, brush drop-off is open to residents year-round Monday through Friday, 7:30 AM–3:00 PM, except holidays.
Please make note of the following events and activities:
- DPW will host its annual Spring Drop-off at the 1607 Jackson Road Facility on Friday, May 17, 7:30 AM–5:00 PM and Saturday, May 18, 9:00 AM–3:00 PM. This service is for Penfield residents only. We will accept general household refuse; furniture; metals; appliances; lawn mowers with fluids drained; vehicle batteries; concrete, brush, and tree limbs; and unmounted passenger vehicle tires (four per resident limit). We cannot accept propane tanks; household electronics including computers and accessories, printers, copiers; TVs; grass clippings and leaves; motorized vehicles; and/or hazardous materials.
- Highway crews will conduct their annual oil and stone treatment program on approximately 13.5 miles of town roads and micro pave a number of cul-de-sacs and circles. Both processes extend road surface life. Details will be posted at www.penfield.org and letters will be mailed out to all residents living on streets scheduled to be treated.
- Highway crews will also be undertaking a road reconstruction project on Old Penfield Road between the west side of the bridge over Irondequoit Creek and Penfield Road (CR 269).
- DPW crews will also be working on a project to expand the parking lot at LaSalle’s Landing Park.
- DPW will continue to work on drainage tasks including catch basin replacements in the Beacon Hills neighborhood as well as cast-in-place pipe lining under Panorama Trail. Several additional projects are also scheduled for the summer season.
- We are continuing to work on a few projects to support the town’s goals of becoming more energy efficient. Although we are not responsible for the installation, this past fall, DPW was busy preparing a site on the DPW complex for a new solar array being installed by Tesla (formerly Solar City). The agreement with Tesla is a power purchase agreement (PPA). With this PPA, Tesla pays the entire cost of equipment and materials up front and no Penfield taxpayer money is being spent on the project. Over time, the new system will provide approximately 70–75 percent of the electrical usage of our town facilities. The solar array is expected to be operational once RG&E grants the “permission to operate” mid to late February.
- We will also continue to convert the town’s street lights to LED in an effort to upgrade the lighting.
- If you are a parent or grandparent, please join us for our popular heavy equipment show for children at the Penfield Public Library on July 18. Watch the library website for details. Children and adults love to see and climb around the impressive DPW heavy equipment. Bring your camera!
- If you need to dispose of household hazardous waste please note the Monroe County Department of Environmental Service (DES) has moved our traditional spring collection to the fall. Please keep an eye out on the website for the date, time, and location. Schedule your required appointment and learn more at http://www.monroecounty.gov/hhw.
We have a wonderful group of dedicated people working at the Penfield DPW. Public safety and the safety of our employees is our highest priority, guiding our decision-making every day.
When you are out driving in your car—whether in a snow storm or on a beautiful summer day—please pay attention to the posted signage and our flag people and follow their directions. Please remember to always give heavy equipment and plows the room they need to perform their jobs. We want to ensure that at the end of each day, our valued employees return to their families in the same healthy condition in which they reported to work.
Thank you and enjoy the rest of the winter, spring, and summer!