Penfield’s businesses have their origins in providing service to the 19th-century pioneer farming community. As the town developed, the need for greater goods and services resulted in the development of business districts, particularly in the Four Corners and in East Penfield. After World War II and into the 1960s and 70s, residential development increased in West Penfield. Commercial and industrial districts followed suit and developed in proximity to residential growth. East Penfield saw less development and remained mostly agricultural with little emphasis on business growth.
Over the decades, Penfield’s business districts continued to develop as we know them today. Penfield is primarily a “bedroom community,” with 92% of all lands in the town residentially zoned, leaving the remaining 8% zoned as commercial and industrial. That 8% has been almost fully developed with little area remaining to provide for new development.
Alongside Penfield's farmlands and open spaces, local businesses play a vital role in serving the needs of our community and world, as many products produced here are shipped internationally. The business environment in Penfield is friendly, healthy, and competitive, fostering growth across a number of industries. The business community has been—and continues to be—supportive of many civic, charitable, sporting, and educational events.
The Town works hand-in-hand with the Penfield Business Chamber and numerous neighborhood and community groups to support planned, effective commercial development, making Penfield a unique community to live and conduct business.
Penfield's primary business districts are as follows:
Agricultural and Farm
Penfield’s agricultural tradition is strong with several thousand acres of land being cultivated and harvested on an annual basis. Much of those lands are located in the Monroe County Northeast Agricultural District, which provides tax benefits to farmers to encourage them to continue farming in Penfield. In addition, the town has several farm markets, now more commonly known as agri-business, as they provide a farm setting to educate the public of farming activities which are supported by local patrons and visitors from all parts of Monroe and Wayne counties. Penfield also has a number of small roadside stands, as its residents are permitted to sell produce that is grown on their properties.
Browncroft Boulevard and Creek Street
The Browncroft Boulevard and Creek Street intersection, more commonly known as Browncroft Corners, is made up of two commercial zoning districts totaling 29.3 acres. The first district is the Limited Business district (19 acres) which permits retail, services, restaurants, and office uses. This district is located primarily at the intersection and to the west of the intersection, remote of neighboring residences. The second is the Business Non-retail district (10.3 acres) which permits office and non-retail service uses. The Business Non-retail district was placed in this area to act as a buffer between residences and uses permitted in the Limited Business district.Approximately 30,000+ commuters pass through this area while commuting to and from Rochester on a daily basis.
The Bay Road/Empire Boulevard/Creek Street area—rebranded North Penfield after the 2000 Comprehensive Plan Update—consists of 196 acres and is Penfield’s largest business district. It is made up of 11.8 acres of Business Non-retail zoning, 47.12 acres of Limited Business zoning, and 138.5 acres of General Business zoning.
The district is a popular shopping and dining destination with Wegman’s and Baytowne Plaza as its anchors, along with several smaller plazas, many restaurants, smaller retail shops, and medical services. This business district, originally created to serve the Penfield-Webster community, has become a popular destination for patrons from all parts of the City of Rochester and eastern Monroe County.
The business district has an identity issue as it is often mistaken for being located in the town of Webster as it has a Webster mailing address and its property owners pay Webster school taxes. The Town of Penfield has wrestled with this issue for decades and now requires new plaza signage to include “Town of Penfield” to reinforce the Penfield identity.
The historic Four Corners is Penfield’s original business district. It is comprised of 95 acres along the Irondequoit Creek corridor and is a bustling village-like neighborhood that hosts pedestrian-friendly businesses, parks, and public spaces. Schaufelberger Park features a town clock and a bronze statue of Town founder Daniel Penfield by the nationally recognized sculptor Donald Sotille. The district is home to over 100 businesses that include retail, restaurant, office, auto service, and other goods and services. The district has the advantage of approximately 36,000 vehicles per day passing through it, providing its merchants with excellent visibility to commuters and neighborhood residents.
The LaSalle’s Landing Development District was created in 1996 as a recommendation of the Town’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program. It is named for the famous French explorer Robert Cavalier de LaSalle who landed in this area in 1669 while on an expedition to find a warm-water trading route to the South Sea and China.
The 124-acre district along Irondequoit Bay is bisected by Empire Blvd. (NYS Route 404). The area was designed to create a point of destination for that portion of Empire Blvd. through the development of retail, restaurants, multi-residential, marinas, water-based recreational uses, and public parkland. Since 1996, the area has redeveloped, replacing several pre-existing non-conforming uses with new businesses, multi-residential developments, and the development of LaSalle’s Landing Park, Penfield’s only town-owned waterfront park, which has become a popular fishing and kayaking launch site.
The Lloyd’s Corners business district is centered at the intersection of Fairport Nine Mile Point Road (NYS Route 250) and Penfield Road (NYS Route 441), and extends along Route 250 from the intersection of Penbrooke Drive, south to Cherrymede Crescent. It also extends from the Wegmans Plaza along route 441 to Penbrooke Drive. The district area totals 177.5 acres and is comprised of General Business (103 acres), Limited Business (19.5 acres) and Business Non-retail (55 acres) zoning districts. The business district incorporates the mix of office, retail, service, and recreational uses at Harris Whalen Park.
Mixed Use District
In 2017, the Town developed the 360-acre Mixed Use District (MUD) as called for in its 2010 Comprehensive Plan to remedy the town’s lack of space to expand existing commercial and industrial zoning districts. Mixed Use Districts have proven to be the most sustainable community planning model as compared to typical suburban conventionally zoned single-use districts.
MUDs promote a coordinated approach to access management, traffic circulation, safe multi-modal elements, appropriate interconnections, lighting, landscaping, and community. Well-designed, higher-density development is more sustainable in terms of reducing the development footprint, the cost of infrastructure, and energy use. There is an unmet need in the town of Penfield and region for alternatives to traditional suburban tract housing that can enhance "quality of life" through higher standards for design and layout to improve walkability, safety, and proximity to jobs, services, and entertainment. The commercial component of a future mixed use district is expected to be neighborhood scale and not anticipated to serve regional markets; mixed-use zoning is flexible to allow developers to respond to a variety of market conditions.
The Panorama Valley business district is one of the oldest and most vital business districts in eastern Monroe County with NYS Route 441 running through its center. It was originally anchored by Panorama Plaza, built in 1960, but has expanded over the decades to encompass 350 acres. The business district is made up of Limited Industrial zoning (175.5 acres), General Business zoning (131.5 acres), Limited Business zoning (16.3 acres), and Business Non-retail zoning (26.3 acres) that abuts residential districts surrounding the business district. The Panorama Valley provides a full range of retail uses, dining experiences, quality office space, two hotels, and serves as the home for multiple corporate headquarters. The area also includes a public kayak launch on Irondequoit Creek.
View Town of Penfield Business Districts in a larger map