Today I sent this email to the Town of Brighton Council members regarding last nights open forum on the Whole Foods development project.
March 1, 2018
Dear Mr Supervisor and Town Council members,
Thank you for your continued efforts and commitment to the Town of Brighton. Last night I was most impressed by your ability to conduct what I consider a very long, but successful meeting. Having attended meetings such as this over my many years, I’m still amazed by how similar they always seem to be. I think the woman who spoke of wanting things to remain the same as they were when she bought her home 50 years ago and the few individuals that wanted “guarantees” about some specific zoning issues speaks volumes. Perhaps our biggest human challenge is adjusting from old normals to new normals. People with the need to maintain control in a changing and seemingly out of control world will find discomfort and struggle In their lives. Unfortunately these issues are mental health issues and not issues that our town board should have to be addressing. With change comes challenges and I do recognize and greatly appreciate your compassion and willingness to listen to them, thank you.
Last night I got there early to experience the energy and organizational structure. Great job on the logistics and coordination, every detail appeared to be addressed. It was however difficult to witness the personal behaviors and attitudes of many of the attendees. I witnessed, extreme rudeness, anger, anxiety, division, protest, pretty much every thing we see on the news everyday. While I am disheartened by individuals disrespect for each other and themselves, I am hopeful that it will bring progressive and healing change.
It is time to make a decision on this project as I fear more delays will just heighten the angst in our community.
Here are a few points that resonated with me last night. In the order of importance to me:
1. Great job on creating a safer way to enter and exit both north and south sides of Monroe Ave. We have been having safety issues in this corridor for more years than I can remember. I believe this change will make a significant difference in its safety and I was glad to see all of the business owners affected are in approval, well done (Bill, I also agree that the light east of 590 should be removed!! No left turn needed)
2. The scope of the square footage on the proposed project is in keeping with the developers needs and not a significant addition to the baseline footage allowed in the current zoning laws. I truly believe that there will not be any adverse affect on our community to allow for the some 19 thousand additional square feet. I also found it interesting that you could put the entire project inside the Pittsford Wegmans and still have enough room for another Whole Foods store. A very relatable thought on development size and one that dispels the super-sized argument.
3. Protection for the neighbors (me) at the rear of the project along Clover St and Allens Creek is an interesting dilemma. As I understand it, under the current laws there is no way for the developer to create ingress/egress on these roads, so, I’m fine with that. The idea to create a permanent covenant to the project, guaranteeing this never happens concerns me. We cannot begin to imagine the needs of our community 20-30 years from now and while I would prefer it never happen, I’m not in favor of it.
4. Traffic. While we all understand we don’t like to be delayed or inconvenienced by having to deal with traffic congestion, this will always be an issue. Trust your work and the professional consultants that have provided you with the needed data. I’m confident we can and will adapt!
5. The enhanced trail. While I’m not a current user, If the board feels this is a good Incentive zoning project that enhances the quality of life in our town I’m all for it.
6. Incentive Zoning. It appears some of the people attending don’t like the idea of incentive zoning because they think the developer is getting to much “a deal” (enhancing the trail @ 1.7 mil?) and going to make to much money over the years to come (16mil over 20+years). To me, incentive zoning has always felt like extortion. I realize this is part of the political landscape today, but I’m not a big fan. I have always believed that town government should be doing everything they can to make it easier for business owners to succeed. If the town wants to make enhancements for the community “we” should be asked to provide for that. In fact let’s work on these projects with personal contributions of business and individuals, not with our tax revenues. If we can raise the money great, if not so be it, we shouldn’t have It. Every day business owners put their livelihood and their families security on the line. We create opportunity for jobs, commerce and offer services for the community all while worrying about being supported. We are the ones with the most to lose and rightfully the most to gain (risk/reward). Not everyone is designed for this work and it doesn’t appear to be appreciated. While I’m on my soap box, I don’t think the government should always have to come up with the money on some things either. Just my thing here!!
7. 22 zoning issues. While this sounds like a lot, It doesn’t appear there are any major concerns other than the parking lot area to the north/west. It sounded like you have put in place adequate barriers and improvements. Good job.
8. Very disappointed in the Neighbors and Save Monroe Ave. attorneys!
All in all not a bad list of concerns and all very attainable. What ever you decide, know that you have given it a lot of time and due diligence. We cannot know and control the future as every day things change, just wait until tomorrow. I believe the developer you are working with could not be a better partner.
“Blessing on your journey”