Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Rethinking demolition - Renaissance Square

The following letter was sent to the editor of the Democrat and Chronicle at the end of January.

Dear Editor,

The Landmark Society congratulates the County's commitment to downtown Rochester. Yet, along with other Renaissance Square programmatic concerns, we remain troubled about plans to demolish the buildings along Main Street east of the Granite Building.

The buildings at Clinton and Main Street are not individually noteworthy, yet when grouped, they form a continuous streetwall that defines traditional downtown character. Streets lined by buildings are lively, pedestrian-friendly, and urban in the best sense. The existing city zoning code reflects robust urban planning principles: zoning regulations for Main Street call for strong, fixed edges at the front lot line to "promote spatial definition along the streetscape." This project seems to abandon these important principles.

We strongly encourage project planners to rethink plans for "green space" in this location and look instead for alternatives that foster sound urban planning and vitality. We recommend the current buildings at the corner of Main and Clinton remain. The City and County should encourage developers to consider their adaptive reuse or, if demolition must occur, delay until more appropriate plans are in place.


Joanne Arany
Executive Director


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