To understand mixed-use development, it’s first important to understand the framework for any community’s decisions related to land use and development: its comprehensive plan.
What is a comprehensive plan?
One of the most important functions of town government is managing growth and land uses within its boundaries. To that end, it is in the best interest of town governments to develop plans for growth, rather than taking a scattershot approach to development.
Many towns, including the Town of Penfield, develop and maintain a comprehensive plan to do just this; to guide future land use decisions while establishing guidelines for responsible development.
A comprehensive plan provides the legal framework for zoning updates and zoning map amendments. The process also creates a road map for land use planning and policy decisions. Think of it as a blueprint for a town’s growth: how the town will use its current space and how it will accommodate future growth.
In the Town of Penfield, we update our comprehensive plan roughly every 10 years with the first formal planning document dating back to the 1966 Master Plan.
2010 Comprehensive Plan
The Town’s plans for mixed-use development date back to 2008 when the planning process for the 2010 Comprehensive Plan began.
In May 2008, the Penfield Town Board appointed a Steering Committee to oversee Penfield’s 2010 Comprehensive Plan Update. The resident-led committee included roughly 20 volunteers representing a broad cross-section of our community and subject matter experts.
Over the course of two-plus years, the committee studied what policies and land use guidelines could best move Penfield forward for the next decade-plus.
Demographics, housing, economic indicators, and the transportation system within Penfield were evaluated. Specifically, the following areas were studied and discussed to make the most informed decisions possible:
- Population characteristics
- Housing and property characteristics
2010 Town of Penfield Comprehensive Plan and MUD
The 2010 Comprehensive Plan has been followed as closely as possible since its adoption by the Town Board in early 2011. Adhering to the plan included the creation of a new Mixed-Use Zoning District within the Town of Penfield.
In Part II and Part III of this note, I will outline what exactly mixed-use is, and the process the Town followed to create a Mixed-Use Zoning District. I’ll also touch on steps currently being taken to streamline the regulations to ensure best practices in development continue for the Town of Penfield.
As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out.