Comprehensive Plan Update - Rochester 4.0


About the Project

One of the most important powers and duties granted to a city and its citizens is the responsibility to develop and undertake a comprehensive plan. A city comprehensive plan is a means to promote and protect the general health, safety and welfare of the people and to lay out a course of action for the future social, physical and political development of the community. The plan serves as the fundamental basis for making public and private decisions on land use regulation and development, future investment and the allocation of critical resources. The plan creates a “blueprint” for the future development and preservation of the city. Often referred to as the “master plan”, it is the policy foundation upon which cities are built.

A good comprehensive plan both guides the specific physical and economic development of the city and also accommodates broader social, environmental and regional concerns.
Section 28-A of New York State General City Law defines a city comprehensive plan as: 

 “... the materials, written and/or graphic, including but not limited to maps, charts, studies, resolutions, reports and other descriptive material that identify the goals, objectives, principles, guidelines, policies, standards, devices and instruments for the immediate and long-range protection, enhancement, growth and development of the city. The city comprehensive plan shall ... serve as a basis for land use regulation, infrastructure development and public and private investment, and any plans which may detail one or more topics of a city comprehensive plan."  

The City of Rochester has begun an update to the existing "Renaissance 2010 Plan" that was adopted by City Council in 1999 (*Read the Renaissance 2010 Plan Here*). The updated plan entitled "Rochester 4.0 - Our Neighborhoods, Our Future"  seeks to establish a cohesive vision that will serve as the roadmap to guide the City for years to come, with an overall time frame of 10 years.

The comprehensive plan update project is a community-wide effort that engages residents, business leaders, educational institutions and other important community partners to help establish a common vision, develop priorities and identify action steps that will help ensure that the City reaches its full potential in the years to come.

Once complete, Rochester 4.0 - Our Neighborhoods, Our Future will be a valuable tool used to help promote the City of Rochester, evaluate future development proposals, inform policy decisions and prioritize City investments in a thoughtful, strategic manner to ensure that "Our future is as bright as our past".  

The comprehensive plan update process will include:

• Using the existing plan format; building off of existing policies, goals, objectives and strategies as well as other recently completed plans, studies and reports
• Updating the plan with current demographic and economic data and trends
• Creating a flexible, strategic, and implementable plan to help guide future decision making
• Incorporating relevant innovative planning concepts, ideas and techniques
• Creating a document that includes policy guidance and direction for future land use decisions and zoning code updates
• Creating a document that provides direction for future investments and allocation of resources
• Benchmarks or “indicators of success” in the plan
• Developing the plan using a strong public participation component
• Utilizing our consultant team from Bergmann Associates & Highland Planning to assist in the plan development process, meeting facilitation and other public outreach components

Future City - Rochester /assets/0/117/8589934996/8589936784/a34e919d-4b8c-424f-ad2c-9e5811910614.jpg

As a part of this project, the City of Rochester engaged the Rochester City School District (RCSD) for opportunities to get area youth involved in the process of planning our city's future. "Future City" is an international, project-based learning program where students in 5th, 6th, and 7th grades imagine, research, design, and build cities of the future. Keeping the planning, design and engineering process as well as project management front and center, students work in teams to ask and answer an authentic, real-world question: How can we make the world a better place? Students involved in the Future City Competition spend approximately four months creating cities that would exist at least 100 years in the future. Each city must incorporate a solution to a design challenge that changes each year. This year’s challenge, "The Power of Public Space", asks students to design an innovative system of public spaces for their City. 

The RCSD identified 14 schools with an Expanded Learning Program (ELP) that could accommodate the "Future City" curriculum. Each of those schools offered "Future City" as an optional elective class during the fall semester of the '16-'17 school year. Those interested in participating formed teams of 8-12 students at each of the schools. Participating students were exposed to a variety of planning, design, architecture and engineering related topics throughout the semester. The students were then tasked with applying the knowledge they gained by designing and building a model of a project of their choosing that symbolizes what they would like to see for the future of their City. Students were also required to write an essay describing the elements of their project and rationale for selection, culminating in an end of year competition and ceremony held at City Hall with the Mayor where the final four teams displayed and presented their models to a series of judges. 

Future City Rochester Semi-final Competition Photos (2/3/17) 

Future City Rochester Final Competition Photos (2/28/17) 

Ultimately, the ideas and concepts generated from the Future City Rochester project will be integrated into the goals, objectives and priorities of the updated comprehensive plan document - Rochester 4.0, providing a unique opportunity for area youth to contribute to shaping the future of our City.

Project Documents

Renaissance 2010 Plan adopted in 1999 
Comprehensive Plan Update Process Summary 
Rochester 4.0 Presentation to City Council - 4/21/16 
Mayor's Advisory Council (MAC) Members List 
Public Outreach Plan  
 *Meeting in a Box Materials (Additional Opportunity for Public Input) * 
Presentation to Mayor's Advisory Council (MAC) - 4/27/16 
Summary of Existing Plans & Studies  
Planning Area Committee (PAC) Rosters and Attendance  
Planning Area Committee (PAC) Meeting #1 Minutes - July 2016 
Planning Area Committee (PAC) Meeting #2 Minutes - August 2016 
City-wide & Planning Area Data Snapshots - November 2016  
Public Meeting Schedule - November 2016 
Public Meeting Photos - November 2016 
Planning Area Committee (PAC) Meeting #3 Minutes - February 2017 
Community Engagement Summary - March 2017 
Planning Area Committee (PAC) Meeting #4 Minutes - April 2017 

Links to Other City Planning Projects & Initiatives:

Tentative Project Schedule 

Project Kickoff April 2016
Mayor's Advisory Council Meeting #1 April 27, 2016
Formation of Planning Area Committees (PACs) June 2016
Public Meetings (5)    November 2016
Mayor's Advisory Council Meeting #2     Summer 2017
Draft Planning Area Reports Completed Summer 2017
Final Planning Area Reports Completed Summer 2017
Public Meetings (5) Summer 2017
Rochester 4.0 Plan Document Preparation Summer 2017
Review of Draft Plan by Mayor / City Council Fall 2017
Public Meetings (5) Fall 2017
Plan Document Submitted to City Council for Adoption Winter 2018

Specific times, dates, and locations of future public meetings have not yet been determined. Check back here for specific information and project updates throughout the course of the project. 

Questions / Information / Comments

For more information about this project contact Dorraine Kirkmire, Manager of Planning at (585) 428-6698 or .