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City Planning Commission considers Cobbs Hill Village proposal

(WHAM photo)

Rochester, N.Y. – A controversial proposal to demolish affordable senior housing units in the Cobbs Hill neighborhood, in order to make way for modernized units that would also be used for, went before the Rochester Planning Commission Monday night.

Rochester Management is looking to build modernized units at Cobb’s Hill Village, but the proposal has some in the neighborhood, including current residents, concerned about rent increases and the potential impact on future residents.

The developer says the units are in need of upgrades, adding that current residents will not see rent increases, so long as they continue to live at Cobb’s Hill Village.

“Our plan is really to update the housing that is there today, that was built in 1957,” said Peggy Hill of Rochester Management. “It’s pretty obsolete. The units are tiny, they don’t allow us to make them handicap accessible and they really lack today’s basic amenities for affordable senior housing.”

Ahead of Monday’s Planning Commission meeting, opponents to the proposal gathered in front of Rochester City Hall. They expressed concern over future tenants not being able to afford the increased rent.

“Rent costs for the existing tenants, as they move into the new ones, they have been told will not go up as long as they live there,” said Upper Monroe Neighborhood Association President Chris Stevens. “But as we said, when they move out for whatever reason, they move out or move on, the new rents will be significantly higher as we said - significantly higher - none will be affordable to the income ranges that are served right now; none.”

Some current residents spoke against the project. They acknowledged the need for some updates, but argued they do not constitute demolition.

“It’s a beautiful location, the buildings are beautiful…it looks like God put them there,” said resident Michael McMulty.

“Admittedly the places could use some updating,” he added, “but other than that I’m very happy with the place, and the location is just beautiful.”

Rochester Management says the wellbeing of seniors in our area is at the core of the proposal.

“We’re really committed to increasing the stock of affordable housing,” said Hill.

“We strongly feel all seniors, regardless of their race, ethnic background, economic background, sexual orientation or disability deserve to live in decent senior housing, and we’ll fight hard to get that to happen for them,” she added.

If the project is approved by the Planning Commission, it would next move to Rochester City Council.

A planning commission meeting happened on Monday night, however the commission did not vote on the proposal.

They are scheduled to reconvene Thursday January 11 at 5 p.m.

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