Rochester City Council meets for the last time in 2012

Posted at: 12/18/2012 11:44 PM
Updated at: 12/19/2012 12:02 AM
By: Lynette Adams

It was a busy night for the Rochester City Council.  The agenda was packed. It approved legislation that will have a big impact on one of the city's longest running festivals. At the same time, it voted to spend money to get rid of some unwanted downtown guests: crows.

Crows are a problem that has annoyed some city residents for several winters now. An estimated 25,000 crows nesting in the trees downtown, specifically in Washington Square Park. On Tuesday night, City Council voted to approve money to continue a United States Department of
Agriculture Program to scare them away. About half a dozen residents don't like it and came to voice their opposition.

"When I came out and I saw the crows roosting my heart soared," says resident June Abignone. "This is a good thing."

Councilmember Carolee Conklin says, "What we're proposing to do, we're not trying to kill the crows, we would just like them to disperse in smaller roosts."

The council also approved a new citizen's review process that will include hiring an advocate who will work as a mediator for the community. This person will walk citizens through the complaint process.

Another new law could impact Rochester festivals; including the East End Festival that's been around for 23 years. City Council approved an ordinance that will prohibit any festivals from blocking the street and charging admission more than one time a year. Under the ordinance, the sidewalks must stay open, even with the streets blocked. This legislation comes out of complaints over the East End Festival. Rochester Mayor Tom Richards says it's a compromise that will allow the East End Fest to continue.

"I don't think it's fair any longer to describe it as a yes or no," says Mayor Richards. "It is true that some of the festivals will have to change the way they operate, but it isn't true to say that any festival I know of is absolutely out of the picture now."