Rochester City Council on Monday, September 25, approved and adopted reading two of several zoning changes planned in the city to create new districts intended to expand the types of land uses surrounding the city's downtown area.
The proposed Mixed Use 1 district, which will run from just north of University Drive to the Clinton River, between Water Street and the Paint Creek; and the Downtown Edge 2 District, which includes sections of land west of water Street to the alley on the edge of the Downtown District, are part of five new districts that are being rezoned to move away from industrial and manufacturing uses in the areas to more commercial friendly and office uses that work well with the downtown area.
Rochester Planning Consultant Vidya Krishnan, with McKenna Associates, said both of the districts have been through several revisions at the planning commission level prior to being introduced to council. The city has already approved the River's Edge district earlier this year, making the two districts proposed three of five that will be introduced.
"In the context of the master plan, the city has adopted the River's Edge district, which was the first," Krishnan said. "This is the second and there's the Downtown Edge. There will be five all together. Once we have five districts lined up, the best way to do it under state law is to do a zoning map amendment change. It would be a single change that would incorporate the five districts. They would become effective immediately after that."
Krishnan said the uses are in line with what the city would like to see, opposed to the industrial uses, such as warehouses, manufacturing and other similar uses "which aren't exactly what we want to see in our downtown." Council unanimously approved the two districts.
Councilwoman Kim Russell suggested altering the language of the ordinance to prohibit dry cleaning processing facilities that would have a heavy industrial use, but allowing for dry cleaning storefronts.
City council also on September 25 approved a request to schedule public hearings on Monday, October 23, to present two additional districts, including a Transition District and Downtown Edge 1 District.
Rochester Planning and Economic Director Nik Banda said Krishnan will be providing council with a larger map of the districts to layout where the city is currently with the rezoning projects.
Additionally, Banda said he will be requesting authorization for an economic development analysis of the district, which will help guide development in the new districts. The analysis, if approved, he said would likely be ready before the end of the year, possibly in mid-December.