Genesee County Talks Smart Growth and Offers Online Meetings

The Genesee County Planning Department is ready to review and discuss a draft Smart Growth Plan 2022 report made available to the public.

The Department will host three online Zoom meetings over the next two weeks for anyone interested in registering for one. The report can be viewed HERE.

Meetings are scheduled for Tuesdays at 2 p.m., Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. and August 31 at 6:30 p.m. They can count towards one hour of land use training credit for planning and zoning board members . To register and get the Zoom link, email your name, desired date and if you want a training certificate to: [email protected]

What is the Smart Growth Plan?
On May 9, 2001, the Genesee County Legislature passed the Smart Growth Plan, which is “a measure to mitigate the significant potential environmental impacts of the Genesee County Water Supply Project on the viability of agriculture in Genesee County,” according to the director of the county’s planning department. Felipe Oltramari.

Smart Growth Development Areas have been designated throughout the county based on their access to transportation, minimal conflict with county agricultural districts and state-regulated wetlands, feasibility of expanding the public water service and the potential for expanding public infrastructure to support development, Oltramari said.

The Plan requires that it be reviewed every three years by the Legislative Assembly and that recommendations for its review be made at that time.

2022 Exam Highlights
During this review, the cities of Byron and Pembroke proposed changes to the boundaries of smart growth development areas. A substantial text change is also proposed as part of this review. The meeting will focus on changes recommended to the county legislature by the county planning department.

According to the Smart Growth Report, Phase 1 of the county water supply project is complete and Phase 2 work is underway. Map 1 of the report shows existing water lines and smart growth development areas prior to the overhauls recommended in this report. The majority of water connections that have been made to the system have occurred primarily along major state highways and county highways.

Although some were built in areas of agricultural production, they complied with the objectives of the Smart Growth Plan by only connecting existing structures to public water. The majority of connections made were located in smart growth development areas designated by the Legislative Assembly.

Since 2019, there have been 15 additional applications for connections outside development areas to structures built after the passage of the Smart Growth Plan. This brings the total number of these special requests to 68. After careful consideration of their potential negative impacts on agriculture and livestock in the region, the Administrative Review Committee approved 12 of the 15 requests, rejected two and filed one of the applications which was subsequently withdrawn by the applicant.

As a result of this review, and based on existing detailed plans, local planning initiatives and comments received during the public review process, it is recommended that the boundaries of the priority development area be modified in the Hamlets of Byron, South Byron and North Byron and that a new priority development area be created on Lyman Road and Beaver Meadow Road in the Town of Byron.

No further changes are recommended in the development areas of other municipalities in Genesee County (see Map 2). This review also amends the Water Service Management Policies and Procedures section of the plan by recommending that the Genesee County Legislature enact local law that where a purchase and sale agreement is presented for “the sale , the purchase or exchange of real estate located in any town outside of a village (or town) in Genesee County, a Smart Growth Disclosure Notice must be signed by the seller(s). ) and the buyer(s) acknowledging that Smart Growth is in effect and that new construction may not have the guaranteed right to public water.”

This notice will help educate land buyers about the impacts of the Smart Growth Plan on access to public water for new non-agricultural development. indicates the report.

The objectives of the Smart Growth Plan are:

  • Focus County resources to support economic development opportunities in the most promising locations;
  • Encourage the revitalization of existing industrial areas, business districts and residential areas of the city of Batavia and developed village areas; and
  • Protect farmland and the rural character of the countryside and maintain the viability of agriculture.

These objectives are consistent with the general principles of smart growth to promote the efficient use of land resources and infrastructure; maximize the benefits of existing infrastructure; promote economic development in appropriate areas; encourage the revitalization of the city of Batavia, villages and other developed areas, focusing on residential neighborhoods, downtown redevelopment and the reuse of environmentally damaged land; protect prime agricultural soils and other natural resources and encourage the continued viability of agriculture according to the May 2013 Smart Growth America Building Better Budgets report.

Typically, smart growth development costs one-third less for upfront infrastructure, saving an average of 38% on upfront costs for building new roads, sewers, water pipes and more infrastructure. Many studies have concluded that this number is as high as 50 percent.

Priority development areas include areas with significant potential for economic development as well as areas that are already relatively densely developed with residential, commercial or industrial uses. These areas were identified according to the following criteria:

  • Access to transportation, including the Interstate Highway System, State Highway System, and Genesee County Airport;
  • Feasibility of extending or improving the public water service;
  • Availability or potential for expansion of other public infrastructure and services to support development;
  • Minimal conflict with land in county agricultural districts and state-regulated wetlands; and
  • Minimal conflict with land identified as an ecological network or core of natural assets by the Green Genesee Smart Genesee project.

Designated priority development areas include lands in and around the town of Batavia, the village of LeRoy, and the village of Bergen, as well as other villages and hamlets in Genesee County.

To learn more about the report and the future of the Genesee County Water Project, click HERE for the report.

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