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Victor, Ontario County


The Democrat and Chronicle published a gushing piece about the growth of Ontario County without mentioning the serious costs of this kind of sprawl.

The population of Ontario County has increased 8 percent over the last decade. The Town of Victor’s population has gone up 40 percent. The area led the region in the rate of home building permits.

One of things that facilitated the area’s growth is new roads. The D&C reports:

Access to major transportation routes is key to the county’s success. Victor is especially attractive because it offers quick access to both the New York State Thruway and Interstate 490.

“That’s one of the most powerful locations in upstate New York,” said Ontario County economic developer Michael J. Manikowski.

In addition to Victor’s Exit 45, Ontario County has three more Thruway exits, something unusual for a county its size.

Here’s what’s wrong with this picture. If the region’s population center, Monroe County, was booming, spillover would be easier to understand and accept. What’s happening in Ontario County, however, is just classic sprawl without growth.

It comes at a cost. Sprawl eats up open land. Sprawl forces state taxpayers to pay for infrastructure. Sprawl puts more cars on the road for more miles. Sprawl leaves depressed home values and vacant homes elsewhere in the community. Sprawl means abandoned downtowns. Sprawl means a wealth shift out of one community into another. Sprawl means more residential and school segregation by income.

Onondaga County is now tackling the costly issue of sprawl without growth. Even if Monroe County wanted to have a serious discussion about sprawl, it looks like it would need Ontario County to partner. That doesn’t seem likely. The D&C reports:

“This has been a long-term success of over 30 years of trying to get this right,” said Ontario County Administrator John Garvey.

While the county’s attractive landscape, especially around Canandaigua Lake, makes it attractive to potential residents and businesses, it’s not enough to produce the current prosperity, Garvey said.

The “current prosperity” is due to sprawl. As Ontario County touts its success, it’s important to remember the cost to its neighbor.

Links of the Day:

– To slow down traffic, Tompkins County painted road shoulders green. It looks like a permanent St. Patrick’s Day parade route.

– Ah, New York State bureaucracy. The Albany Times Union has the epic tale of a woman trying to get her massage therapist license.

– A Central New York couple really, really loves pumpkins.

– The “flack to hack” ratio is going up and the power of PR people over journalists is out of control.

– A critical piece on a former WPS owner also knocks Abby Wambach. Observers said she didn’t do enough to protect younger, underpaid players from the bully owner.

14 Responses to Ontario County Sprawl is Bad

  1. I find no problem with Sprawl. First people can live where they want its a free country. Next, road development / infrastructure occur after people have moved. Cars are traveling too much? Thats not a problem if you sell cars or gas or repair cars etc. Travel commute times in Roch are nothing. Ontario CO. is close to THEE major mall Eastview, their taxes are less than Monroe, they have good schools away from city problems. No urban suburban transfer scams in Ontairo, your close to the finger lakes and skiing. “Sprawl eats up open land” So what? We have lots of open land.
    Not every one wants to live in the Park ave area. They like space, a big back yard, no hassles, kids can safely ride a bike, or walk the dog at night with no hassles

  2. I think you make some good points about how it is just sprawl without overpopulation from the center. I think it has to be said though that the sprawl has been to Victor almost exclusively. You look at the majority of the regions school districts enrollment numbers and notice they are shrinking except for Victor. All the things the D&C mentioned are accurate. Business center with land, great schools and near highways is almost a utopia for new and growing families. That said the rest of Ontario County isn’t necessariy growing. Victor is turning into the new Fairport and will surpass it in district enrollment I think within the next 5 years but Canandaigua, Marcus Whitman, Red Jacket and other districts have either gotten smaller or have not had any growth in recent years. Victor right now is the it town just like Henrietta, Greece and Webster were 30 years ago.

  3. That Victor is the current “it town” is precisely the problem, instead of reinvesting in what has already been built, we are simply using resources to put up a duplicate “it town” and billing the added infrastructure costs to the taxpayer.

    If you want to see where Rochester as a region is headed if this kind of sprawl continues, go west to places like Cleveland, Columbus OH, or Toledo. All cities that have seen growth without added prosperity, leaving inner suburbs and the cities hollowed out and creating vast suburban wastelands between the pockets of new building. New York State ought to be proactive and enable metropolitan wide groups to develop urban growth boundaries to protect our farmland and slow subsidized suburban growth.

  4. Awesome little article. Rochester, like many other cities, Is stuck in the second half of the 20th century. We need to become more progressive or we will fall.

  5. September 17, 2012 at 11:38 pm Mr. Mackey responds:

    Sprawls are bad, m’kay?

  6. The internet kills the needs for buildings in city or for a center city at all. Progressive,(?) is those who think they know better, having the right to tell other people where they can or can’t live? That sound like a free country to you? Who gives who that right? And why? And Protect our farm land is an issue here?

    Hello this is Rochester, we have more farm land and potential farm land than we know what to do with. We also have more fresh water than virtually any city in the world. Your all listening to big city liberal issues and talking points and think they apply to Rochester. Try leaving your Park ave home and travel to Wayne county and tell me why we need to “protect our farm land”

  7. September 18, 2012 at 12:11 pm Michael Hall responds:

    Great article Rachel.

    Suburban sprawl is a growing problem and has become an issue of sustaining ‘our’ quality of life. The development method has profound negative effects economically and socially and is a continued source of diminishing New York’s recourses. There are other ways of building our infrastructure that better balance our environment and allow for a higher state of living. Onondaga County is on the fore front and Monroe County should follow in their footsteps. I for one don’t want to live in a state where there are only highways, McDonalds, and vinyl houses with fake shutters.

  8. I Grew up on the western edge of Wayne County. I Don’t live on Park Ave. Sprawl is bad for Rochester. Does anybody remember when Henrietta was farmland? Now it’s asphalt. What a beautiful place.

  9. There are still many farms and beautiful empty land in Henrietta. New upscale housing tracks t are far better than ever before. Tinker park is becoming a jem, there are many new bike and walking trails that connect to other towns. Of course if one only travels Jefferson Rd how would one know? Sprawl is bad for Henrietta? Says Who?

    I own land in Wayne county. I seen traffic increase as more people see how beautiful it is to live there and travel 104 to the city daily. You can live on the lake from Roch to Sodus or beyond and commute to the ROCH in is less time than most major cities. And the problem is? Its a free country last I checked. Live where you want live. Dont let others say you cant or your wrong.

  10. Dont complain about your taxes when you are having to maintain and replace infrastructure that serves less dense populations.

  11. Oh and the cost of the pipe running water longer distances is? The Roads already “go there” . Most remote locations are on septic systems. Water and electrical usage pay for the service to go there. And so the cost of the infrastructure is what? Compared to old pipes that have to be dug up and replaced on city streets regularly due to high traffic that causes pipes to bust? There is no case for the higher cost,,…. just an agenda that doesn’t like it.

  12. September 25, 2012 at 12:56 pm Havahd St responds:

    The roads “go there”, but are not designed for the amount of cars that end up driving from these remote subdivisions. I work for RGE and we are constantly adding electric infrastructure to our maps way out in the country for these awful, ugly condo subdivisions that require excavating and digging for the new electrical work.
    I can understand wanting to live in a big house in the country with lots of space, but what is the appeal of living way out in the country if you are going to live RIGHT next to someone else! For example, look at 6390 Plaster Mill Road in Victor, home of a Morgan Management community. The houses are as close or closer as my place near Park Ave, and your kids are no safer riding around there because it is off of a busy main road with nothing to ride to.

  13. Havahd Street,

    That development in Victor (if I am thinking about the right one) is located right next to one of Farmington’s ugliest trailer parks – Hunt’s Park. I have been by this area many times, and always wondered what the appeal was with building high density housing like this in what used to be the “country.” I supposed it is handy if you want to get on and off the Thurway – quickly, since it is maybe one mile away. But otherwise I don’t get it, and really wonder where the people that are moving into this development, are moving from.

  14. Pingback: Corporate Sprawl » The Rochesterian

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