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Pittsford Member Of Town Council {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

The Town Council is the legislative appropriating, governing and policy determining body of the Town. The Town Council determines the types and levels of service to be provided in the Town. The Council annually adopts the Town budget which reflects the cost of conducting operations and monitors Town operations. In its legislative capacity, the Council passes resolutions and enacts ordinances and laws which govern the functions of town government and ensure the safety and well-being of all residents.
CHOOSE TWO CANDIDATES FROM BELOW TO COMPARE
  • Kevin S. Beckford (Dem, WF, WE)

  • Mary Gehl Doyle (Rep, Con, Ind, Rfm)

  • Jared C. Lusk (Rep, Con, Ind, Rfm)

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    Stephanie Townsend (Dem, WF, WE) Member, Pittsford Town Council

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Biographical Information

If you could achieve one major improvement for our town, what would it be and how would you accomplish it?

How would you balance the promotion of development in our town with protection of the environment?

What are your views on housing issues such as affordable housing, code enforcement, and zoning?

What, if any, shared services do we have with other towns (or villages) and what other shared services would you pursue?

Beyond measures already in place, what can be done in our town to meet the challenges of climate change?

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Campaign Phone (585) 690-9315
Profession Community Psychologist, President of Townsend Consulting & Evaluation, Inc.
Pittsford needs strategic, evidence-based planning. Our Town Board is not adequately planning for the future and we all bear the consequences of that – the tax levy goes up every year, retirees and middle-income families are edged out of the housing market, and needed infrastructure improvements are not made. Professionally, I am a strategic planner and researcher. I work with nonprofits and schools to build healthier, stronger communities. I have the skills to look at consequences 5, 10, 20 years down the road. If I accomplish one goal, it will be to use our remaining residential land to ensure a diversity of housing options. I am especially concerned about retirees who, as they look for smaller, single-floor, low-maintenance homes often find there is nothing available. I will work with the community to identify what housing options are needed and collaborate with developers through incentive zoning and planned unit developments to ensure the needs of our residents are met.
Pittsford’s Greenprint plan, adopted in 1996, was a forward-thinking approach that protects approximately 1,400 acres of land from development. Additionally, zoning in the south part of town requires that developments more than 10 acres include at least 50% open space. However, in recent housing developments we are seeing the letter of the law being met in ways that do not conform to the intent of the ordinances. There must be open dialogue between the Planning, Zoning, and Town Boards and residents to review whether, at our current state of development, those plans and ordinances are sufficient for protecting greenspace in Pittsford. While approximately 6,000 acres of town are residential, less than 500 acres are zoned for commercial, industrial, and office uses. To diversify town revenues and reduce the reliance on residential property taxes, we need to explore how to make better use of that land, in ways that generate revenues and ensure environmentally sustainable development.
Pittsford needs a more proactive approach to housing. The Planning Department indicates we have about 1,400 acres with residential development potential. The Comprehensive Plan Update completed in 2009 estimated that all residential zones will be developed within 10 years. This means we must plan now for how to use remaining land. The update to the Comprehensive Plan must outline a vision that supports more compact, mixed-use, walkable neighborhoods. Incentive zoning can attract developers that specialize in building houses for aging-in-place. Planned unit developments can allow more creative, innovative designs that include varied uses of the land so residents have easy access to amenities. Code updates that emphasize universal design can ensure that new housing is accessible for a wide range of individuals and families. Pittsford is more than simply a place to live. It is a community. By planning for our future, we can ensure we are a vibrant and welcoming community for all.
The area of inter-governmental cooperation most in need of improvement is between the town and village governments. The village is the heart of Pittsford. It is part of why many residents, including those who live in the town, choose to live here. Because of its greater resource base, the town can also benefit the village. However, the current relationship is fraught with competing views on who has what authority, especially in the area of planning. I would begin with honest dialogue with elected officials in the village to identify our shared goals and practical solutions for improving communication. A pressing need is for economic development consistent with the community’s values. There are many vacancies in our commercial areas. I propose forming a partnership between the town, village, Chamber of Commerce, and local colleges to establish a small business incubator. This would provide training, technical assistance, and resources to help our businesses be successful.
With a strategic plan, Pittsford can address climate change at the local level. First, we can reduce operational costs by investing in municipal solar arrays. These can be installed on municipal buildings or town-owned land, and projects can be completed with no up-front costs to the town using Tax-Exempt Equipment Leasing Programs. Savings would begin immediately and increase over time. Second, we should establish Community Choice Aggregation. This allows a local government to aggregate the buying power of homeowners to purchase energy from renewable sources at a lower rate. While saving residents money on their energy bills, we would also help spur clean energy investment. Third, we need to take simple steps to support environmental sustainability. These may include recycling receptacles in town parks, reducing use of Styrofoam, and minimizing pesticides and herbicides. With leadership that focuses on long-term gains, we can build a community with a sustainable environmental future.

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