By: Mike Murphy//March 14, 2014
By: Mike Murphy//March 14, 2014//
The historic hamlet of Bushnell’s Basin offers residents and visitors a shopping plaza, some upscale and chain eateries, convenience stores and gas stations, and a hotel, as well as use of a nearby park.
Lately, after the completion of a dock project on the Erie Canal, this section of the town of Perinton that dates back to the waterway’s heyday has seen renewed interest among boaters making pit stops along their journeys.
Town officials are now banking on a proposed zoning change that could help the basin become more of a destination, as well as tidy up the hamlet and lure millennials to its borders.
The hope is to see the hamlet, which is on Route 96 at Kreag Road, attract smaller businesses, such as cafes and coffee shops, with more housing in a more walkable and bike-friendly community, according to Supervisor Mike Barker.
Officials are seeking to change the current Commercial and Residential B zoning to a mixed-use district zoning.
“It’s our never-ending quest to make it more village-like,” Barker said. “The mixed-use gives the town control over what goes there but also allows for interesting ideas to enhance the area.”
This week’s blizzard forced the cancellation of a public hearing originally slated for Wednesday but the hearing has been rescheduled for April 9. In addition to the public, the town’s Planning Board also will weigh in with recommendations before the Town Board considers the rezoning, which would affect 21 properties in the hamlet.
The proposed mixed-use zoning would allow for smaller commercial and retail operations along with residential and office opportunities on smaller properties, according to Mike Doser, director of code enforcement and development for the town.
They include small grocery stores, clothing operations, bike repair and sales shops and, perhaps, a craft brewery that offers tastings. The purpose is to attract younger adults, who appreciate businesses in walkable distances from where they live, as well as the canal passersby.
The zoning also protects against large-scale strip commercial operations.
The town has hosted a preliminary meeting with some property owners to describe the intent of the proposed change.
“Property owners typically will have more flexibility about what they can do,” Doser said.
The basin, which borders the town of Pittsford, is on a bit of a hot streak of late when it comes to development.
The canal project led to the enhancement of a walking trail with way-finding signs near some small food and retail operations, Barker said.
A 12-lot single-family housing project, which has recently received concept approval, is in the works.
Also, a project consisting of office, retail and restaurants, which had been approved about the time the recession of 2008 hit, was reapproved earlier this year and fits the proposed zoning, Doser said.
Officials say this type of zoning could spur similar development at two other locations in town — the West Whitney Road corridor and the Fairport Road area close to the village of Fairport border — if successful here.
“We think we’re on the right track,” Doser said. “We think this will work.”