Supervisor's Note Part II: Land use decisions
In my previous Supervisor’s Note, I touched on how we make land use decisions in the Town of Penfield.

With this, I highlighted mixed-use development which was included in our 2010 Comprehensive Plan. To provide a better understanding of mixed-use, I want to delve a bit deeper into what exactly it is and how the zoning type in Penfield was created.

What is mixed-use development (MUD)?

In short, MUD is a type of development that incorporates a combination of uses including:
  • Residential
  • Retail
  • Recreation
  • Entertainment
  • Office space
Mixed-use differs from typical single-family residential or commercial construction. Commercial space is integrated alongside residential dwelling units such as apartments, condos, single-family homes, and townhomes. The more compact and integrated development pattern is an efficient use of land and resources.

With such development, pedestrian and bike connectivity is incorporated, public space is created, and sprawl is reduced. Ultimately, the goal is to create a vibrant village-like environment.

While the development type is relatively new to Penfield, it has been taking place throughout the country for many years. Mixed-use development is popular across demographics as it provides walkable areas where one can live, work, and play. The benefits of MUD are many including those highlighted below:
  • Diversification of economic base
  • Sustainable development that is tax positive
  • Efficient use of community resources
  • Provision of a variety of housing styles
  • Promotion of alternate methods of transportation including biking or walking
  • Preservation of natural resources by limiting suburban sprawl (development is not as land-intensive)
Role of residents in MUD discussions

If you read my Supervisor's Note Part I: Land use decisions which I shared earlier this month, you will likely recall I said MUD and land use discussions took place over several years. Below is a general overview of how MUD was established here in Penfield:
  • Resident-led 2010 Comprehensive Plan Committee determined two areas that may benefit from MUD, and one of those was the Route 250 corridor.
    • It was from this intensive planning process the need for mixed-use in Penfield was identified. Two key factors which guided the determination included expanded housing opportunities and diversification of the economic (tax) base.
  • Following the adoption of 2010 Comprehensive Plan by the Town Board (early 2011), a resident-led committee was formed to guide the implementation process. Committee members were appointed by the Town Board in January 2013 and March 2013.
    • Sub-committee comprised 13 residents, nine of whom lived on the east side of Penfield and right around the Route 250 area.
    • Route 250 corridor identified as an ideal area for mixed-use zoning by the sub-committee because it was located at the intersection of two state highways with village centers located north and south (Webster and Fairport) along Route 250.
  • Public participation was critical with numerous public participation opportunities.
    • Neighborhood meeting (March 2013)
    • Mixed-use discussion with Eastside Homeowners Association (March 2013)
    • Formal public information meeting specific to Route 250 (August 2014)
    • Public information meeting on Route 250 mixed-use process (May 2016)
    • Numerous open public meetings
Creation of Mixed-Use Zoning District

Based on the guidance of resident-led committees, areas within the Town of Penfield have been zoned mixed-use over the last 10 years, specifically along the northern section of Route 250 in the Town of Penfield.

During the rezoning process, the Town consulted area landowners to gather feedback, and a public hearing was held. Rezoning for most of the area took place in 2017.

As a Town, we will continue to ensure we grow in a way that is well-thought, sustainable, and most beneficial to our community. The key to effective development is continually monitoring activity and adapting policies and regulations as needed, which has been done throughout the mixed-use process.

In my final Supervisor’s Note of this three-part series, I will be outlining why it’s important we continue to ensure the Town of Penfield is home to diverse land uses.