October 31, 2021

Town pursuing strategies in current Comprehensive Plan Update to ensure more local input on the NYS Earthen Embankment Integrity Program

Town Supervisor Ciaran Hanna today announced plans to strategically utilize Perinton’s Comprehensive Plan Update to safeguard the Erie Canal in Perinton and its future maintenance and development. The Town is finalizing the current draft of the Comprehensive Plan Update, which outlines the significance of the Erie Canal in Perinton and its economic, recreational, and historic value. This Update is slated to be finalized before New York State commences its work on the Earthen Embankment Integrity Program.

“The Erie Canal is one of our most significant cultural, natural, and historic landmarks, and we must safeguard it for the generations to come,” said Hanna. “The Town has been evaluating how to best protect the Erie Canal through our Comprehensive Plan Update given the State’s imminent plan to remove trees and vegetation along earthen embankments. By doing this, we can help ensure the Town and our residents have more input and communication with the State before any clearing occurs. I want residents to know that Perinton is prepared to protect the Canal and the safety of our community to the greatest extent we can.”

While the Erie Canal has been a topic of significant interest in previous Comprehensive Plan Updates, the Town will include more strategic language in the current update to bolster the Canal’s aesthetic value as a resource of local importance, and consider future zoning actions to help foster increased communication between the Town, our residents, and the state. Those actions could include the creation of a Cultural and Scenic Overlay District along the Erie Canal in the Town of Perinton, and /or the possibility of a multi-year planning process to establish a Local Waterfront Revitalization Program in conjunction with both the federal and state government.

Many existing critical features and resources of the Erie Canal will be highlighted in the Comprehensive Plan Update. This includes scenic views, the Historic National Register, cultural resources, wildlife habitat, floodplains and floodways, topography, parks and open spaces, waterfront access, and recreational resources. These features of the Canal will help determine why the area should be protected and/or conserved in relation to potential future development and maintenance activities, such as those outlined by New York State in their Earthen Embankment Integrity Program.

Perinton officials recently sent a letter to the New York State Canal Corporation outlining several requests before any clearing occurs along the Canal. These requests included more community input and engagement, alternatives to clear-cutting, and the release of hazard and risk information to the Town and its residents.

“In the Town of Perinton, most of the property along the Canal is privately owned. While I understand the State wants to modify its canal embankment maintenance practice to permit easier inspection and identification of potential hazards, a clear-cut is not the answer. Instead, a pragmatic, selective and intentional approach should be taken. It is our intent to require the State to actively engage all stakeholders – from the public to property owners to the Town, and provide all with an opportunity to have more input, communication, and engagement on the State’s plan moving forward,” continued Hanna.

Perinton has updated its Comprehensive Plan every decade since 1959. Each update considers evolving trends in the Town over the past ten years and develops strategies to set the direction of the community’s growth and development into the next decade. Perinton’s 2021 Update is expected to be approved and adopted by the Town Board by the end of this year.