Recently, I have been asked how the application and review process works, and I thought the question provided a perfect time to give an overview of the process.
Application process 101
When a resident or business is seeking to build or alter a structure located in Penfield, an application to the Town is required. Applications cover various types of projects ranging from new home or business construction, additions, alterations to existing building(s), subdivision of land, and infrastructure improvements.
Depending on the scope of the project, review by the Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals and/or Town Board may be required before a construction permit can be issued by the Building Department.
The reviewing board or boards is determined by project type and proposed location. Upon submission, applications are posted to the Property Under Review page on the Town website. If the project requires a public hearing, a date is scheduled, and a notice of the date and time of the hearing is published.
The public hearing provides an opportunity for residents and interested citizens to provide feedback on a proposed project before a board decision is rendered. Project applications are discussed during board meetings which are open to the public and can be watched via livestream. Public participation varies by board, but all comments can be made through in-person comment, online submission, or by calling (585) 340-8771 during the hearing.
It's important to note, not all projects will be posted on the website or require a public hearing.
Smaller projects (under 1,000 square feet of impervious surface) are typically reviewed internally by Town of Penfield staff members in our Building, Engineering and Planning Departments. Projects like sheds and patios often fall under this category.
For specific application information, I invite you to visit our website.
Each project application must meet local, state, and federal standards for approval. Infrastructure and public utility projects such as cellular service, internet, power, and water, often have different standards for approval as compared to more typical commercial or residential development.
In short, standards vary by project and public need may supersede Town standards in the case of infrastructure and public utility projects.
When an application is under review, we have a process to notify the community. Per New York State Law, the only form of public notification required is the posting of a legal notice in the Town of Penfield paper of record (Webster Herald) and at Penfield Town Hall. For some applications, written notice to neighboring properties may also be required.
To improve transparency and keep citizens informed, the Town of Penfield has chosen to implement numerous additional notification methods above and beyond what is required.
In addition to legal notice publication in the local paper and Penfield Town Hall, the Town also provides additional notifications:
- Application posted to Town website
- Property Under Review sign(s) posted at location of proposed project
- Postcards sent to properties within proximity to the proposed project (project size dependent, typically 500 feet for properties under 1 acre)
- Public hearing and/or Public Information Session (the public is invited to learn more about the proposed project and share feedback)
Throughout the process, our goal is to ensure the community has as much information as possible.
As we discuss the sharing of public information, it’s a great time to remember that communication is a two-way street. It is the Town’s responsibility to disseminate information, but it is equally important that residents be actively engaged in the community and local government. Staying engaged allows you to be informed.
Here are ways to remain engaged with the Town:
- Sign up for the e-newsletter (published monthly)
- Bookmark the Town website and Penfield Community Television website
- If you are on social media, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn
- Attend or watch public meetings
- Call Penfield Town Hall (585) 340-8630
- Property Under Review and Projects of Community Interest pages on Town website
As always, please do not hesitate to reach out should you have questions.