Council approves moratorium to stop demolition of homes for surface parking
The Rochester City Council on Monday approved a one-year moratorium on new surface parking lots in select residential neighborhoods.
The measure was introduced to combat the demolition of homes for parking in the core neighborhoods surrounding downtown. While the moratorium is in effect, city staff will study the zones "to determine whether there is a need for the adoption of official controls relating to the establishment of parking facilities and/or expansion of parking."
Jesse Welsh, president of the Kutzky Park Neighborhood Association, called it a "step in the right direction" by ensuring "core neighborhoods develop thoughtfully." Speaking via email, she emphasized the importance of prioritizing "preservation and single family homes, whenever possible."
The motion passed 6-1, with only council member Ed Hruska voting "nay." Despite concerns raised in media reports and public hearings, Hruska said he had not heard "any requests that this is an issue."
The moratorium will not affect larger-scale redevelopments that would include new parking spaces. Rather, it aims to prevent developers from tearing down homes for the sole purpose of surface parking.
"These core neighborhoods deserve to be given the same ability to protect the integrity of their neighborhood as other places do," council member Michael Wojcik said during a meeting on Aug. 15. (There was limited discussion on the measure at this week's council meeting.)
Council member Mark Bilderback echoed Wojcik's concerns. He said the destruction of historic homes for surface parking is what initially propelled him to get into politics nearly a decade ago.
"I don't have a problem with a surface lot being put up for a development," said Bilderback. "But just for the fact of not taking care of a house — to tear down a house to put up a surface lot — I do have a problem with."
Below is the full text from the resolution approved on Monday:
Council has requested and staff has drafted a proposed moratorium on Parking Facilities and/or the expansion of parking in the R-3 and R-4 zoning districts. This resolution would authorize staff to study parking in the R-3 and R-4 zoning districts to determine whether there is a need for the adoption of official controls relating to the establishment of parking facilities and/or expansion of parking in the R-3 and R-4 Zoning District, and to develop policy options and recommendations.
(Cover photo: File / CC)