Hot fun in the summertime

Even without the Newman Development Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Lowes project, which is expected any day now, the summer meeting schedule is already filling up with important meetings for those who care about the future of Geneseo.

The Geneseo Planning Board will be meeting on Monday night in their new location at the former SNF. Although the Newman project is not on the agenda, there is plenty of other business to keep the board busy, including the proposed site plans for the new Applebees Restaurant in the former Wal-Mart parking lot and a new Sears catalogue store in the former Dollar General store building.

On Thursday of next week, the County Planning Board will revisit the proposed new Village of Geneseo Master Plan. At its May meeting the board voted 14-2 to disapprove the plan, a decision that has drawn heavy editorial criticism and a formal request for clarification from the village.(See previous entries of this blog from May 11 and May 22) .

That meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the Alice Wadsworth Strong Room of the County Building in Geneseo. It is not clear if the Geneseo plan will come up for a second vote, although it is believed the absence of 10 members at the previous meeting may have made a difference in the direction of the discussion.

The Village has now scheduled a public hearing on the same Master Plan for the following week. That meeting will be on Tuesday June 19 at 8 pm in the Geneseo Building. The board had originally wanted to allow extra time to consider the county feedback, but found it impossible to find any other open dates before mid-July, due to various vacation schedules.

Since both meetings will occur in the same news cycle for the local weekly, the Clarion News Blog may be your best source of information about what happens at the county meeting. That is, unless the sleeping giants at the Rochester D & C finally make good on their promise of increased coverage of this issue.

Finally, mark your calendars for a joint town and village public hearing on the draft Access Management Plan on July 11. That meeting will also be at the Geneseo Building at 7 p. m. The Access Management study, which was originally supposed to take six months, is now in its third year after being held hostage in the Big Box War.

The draft plan has been kicking around since last fall, but has been considered too hot a political issue to move forward. In fact, as of today, the most recent draft which will be the subject of the hearing has not yet been released.  (We will post it here on as soon as we can get our grimey mitts on it!)

Could it be that this recent breakthrough has something to do with the looming town election season? Whatever the reason, passing the management plan is an essential first step in moving the possibility of Rt. 20A reconstruction forward. The current draft includes recommendations for two new roundabouts, one at Center Street and one at Groveland and Crossett Roads.

Recently I wrote to David Goehring, the DOT regional traffic engineer for the Rochester region to ask him what needed to be done to get such a proposal moving forward. Here is his response:

“It seems that the next steps if roundabouts are determined to be a desirable potential option (by this I mean desirable from the village/town perspective) is to do more homework on the viability of the option. It seems the planning level study identified it as preferable over a three-color signal but it did not determine if either a signal or roundabout would improve overall traffic conditions on the corridor. For instance, how would it improve safety (based on current accident history) and how will it affect capacity of the highway and intersection. Study recommendations are not automatically programmed . Only if the department agrees that it truly is a safety or operational issue and that this is the way to remedy it then we will need to go the next step to which would look for other hurdles. Some possible hurdles are whether it can fit into the roadway width and match grades; is there an impact on historical or environmental sites that can be mitigated or addressed? Lastly, or maybe somewhere in between all this, the cost and schedule would need to be determined based on its priority compared to other competing needs throughout the region. In summary, the first step I think is for the village/ town to complete the study to a point where it can be submitted to us for consideration of alternatives.”

Obviously, there are a lot of “ifs” “ands” and “buts” in there, but the one thing that is certain is that if the town and village don’t formally adopt the plan after a public hearing, nothing can happen.

By the way, hard copies of this and the other two blogs at the clarioncall site are now available at two locations in Geneseo. The Wadsworth Library reading room and Mattie’s Cafe. Please let people who don’t have Internet access know about this so they are not left out of the loop.

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