Rochester's Fast Growth Leads to New Problems

Posted at: 03/28/2014 7:26 PM
Updated at: 03/28/2014 10:54 PM
By: Steph Crock

(ABC 6 News) -- Over the past four years Rochester grew by 5,000 people and with DMC, we'll be seeing much more of that growth.

More than 20,000, that's how many people moved here to Rochester within the past decade and that was before Destination Medical Center. Now that DMC has passed, we've been assured plenty more growth, meaning a lot more housing has to be made available.

When a historic home on the corner of 5th and 5th downtown was demolished for apartments, it struck a nerve for nearby residents and a similar worry is back on the table. The newest apartment complex proposal would be a 83-unit apartment at the 700 block of West Center Street near downtown.

"The zoning is R4 on the eastern end of the development but it's R3 on the western end," said Dave Edmonson with the Kutzky Park Neighborhood Association. If zoning were to be changed, is that setting the wrong precedent? We asked the mayor. "I particularly don't like it when we have to make modifications to some of our 'rules' that we have," said Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede. Mayor Brede doesn’t want it to, but admits some changes along the way may be necessary. "Again, some of those were over 20 years ago, maybe 30 years ago, and things have changed," said Brede.

With DMC for example, there could be up to 40,000 new jobs. "That's probably like 2-3 people each so theoretically, or even arguably, we could double in our size in the next 20 years," said Brede

Growth can certainly be a good thing, the worry is, how to embrace growth while still maintaining what's historically meaningful to this community. "We really embrace the change. We have a lot of properties that need redevelopment," said Edmonson.

"It's exciting times, there’s no question. It's challenging for sure but it’s exciting as well," said Brede.

That specific project is only in the beginning stages. It must first go in front of the planning commission, then city council would have to approve it.