April 25, 2024

A vital measure passed by the Town Board to safeguard the Erie Canal’s future in Perinton.

Perinton Town Supervisor Ciaran Hanna today announced the establishment of the Erie Canal Conservation Overlay (ECCO) District, a pivotal measure passed by the Perinton Town Board on April 10, 2024. This action is the result of the Town’s strategic vision in the latest Comprehensive Plan Update to safeguard the Erie Canal in Perinton and its future maintenance and development.

“The Erie Canal is not just a historical landmark; it’s a vital part of our community’s identity and future,” said Hanna. “With the establishment of the ECCO District, we are reaffirming our commitment to preserving this iconic waterway for future generations while promoting sustainable development that honors our past.”

The ECCO District, detailed in Chapter 208 of the Town’s zoning ordinances, marks a significant step towards preserving and safeguarding the Erie Canal as a vital resource for Perinton’s future sustainability. Rooted in the town’s rich history as a transportation and industrial hub in the 1800s, the Erie Canal has evolved into a cherished cultural asset, offering diverse recreational opportunities and bolstering the community’s character and identity. These fundamental features of the Canal underscore its importance in guiding future development and maintenance activities, such as those outlined by New York State in their Earthen Embankment Integrity Program.

The ECCO District aims to uphold the vision, goals, and recommendations outlined in the Town of Perinton 2021 Comprehensive Plan and other local initiatives focused on the protection of natural and cultural resources. Its objectives include preserving the canal’s natural, scenic, and historic value, enhancing public access and recreational use, mitigating stormwater runoff, and fostering sustainable development that complements the canal’s aesthetic and economic significance.

Key provisions of the ECCO District include:

  • Establishment of boundaries encompassing the entire length of the Erie Canal in Perinton and adjacent lands within 200 feet of the waterside top of the canal bank.
  • Regulation of development activities, ensuring compatibility with the canal’s environment and heritage.
  • Requirements for site plan review, professional consultation, and adherence to environmental and historical preservation standards.
  • Guidelines for vegetation management, emphasizing the use of native species and responsible removal practices.
  • Standards for design and development, promoting pedestrian and bicyclist accommodations, open space preservation, and enhancement of historic and cultural resources.
  • Mandates for community benefits, including provisions for canal-front use and access, public restrooms, recreational facilities, and public gathering spaces.

Exemptions to the ECCO District regulations include single-family lots, unless they impact an area of 5,000 square feet or more, horticultural properties such as farms, nurseries, and orchards, as well as activities related to the ordinary maintenance and keeping of public and utility rights-of-way.

“I’m proud of the collaborative effort that went into crafting the ECCO District. It was a true team effort, with input from stakeholders, experts, and regulatory agencies. I extend my gratitude to our Department of Public Works, Planning Board, Conservation Board, Historic Architecture Commission, and all other contributors for their dedication to preserving Perinton’s rich heritage and natural assets,” continued Hanna.

The establishment of the ECCO District reflects Perinton’s commitment to responsible stewardship of the Erie Canal, ensuring its enduring legacy for generations to come.

Click here to view the ECCO code.