|
|
|
Wayne Post
  • CANANDAIGUA CENTENNIAL: The advent of 'Historic Zoning'

    • email print
  • Several events occurred throughout the city of Canandaigua that ultimately led to the adoption of the Canandaigua Historic Zoning Ordinance in 1975.
    Specifically, three homes were removed on Bristol Street for more parking in the downtown area in 1968; the former Jasper Parrish home, on the corner of Parrish and South Main streets, was demolished for a gas station (now Sunoco, then Atlantic) in 1972; and a salt box home (Sick’s Florist) on South Main was razed for the Pizza Hut built in 1975. In addition, the Pickering Hotel had burned in 1967 — it was on the current site of the city mini-park — and the Canandaigua Inn burned in 1971. These incidents helped in raising awareness and action for historic preservation throughout the city.
    Additionally, an Urban Renewal Agency was created in 1968, which ultimately developed a controversial proposal by 1974 for the downtown central business district that called for a $4 million, seven-phase project of improved and added parking areas, two new access roads, and the development by private interests of a shopping complex or mini-mall. Initially, this proposal threatened several structures of historical significance including the Elks building (the old Masseth Hotel) and the fire station (old Erina Hose station) on Niagara Street. Other structures on the west side of downtown between Bristol and Chapin streets were also threatened. This proposal was met with severe opposition by a loosely knit preservation group.
    Amidst all of this controversy, the Historic Zoning Ordinance was developed from recommendations from a seven-member historic preservation committee and the city Ordinance Committee by August 1974. The Canandaigua Common Council unanimously approved the Zoning Ordinance on March 13, 1975, creating seven historic districts including North Main Street (already designated in 1973), Central Business District, Gorham Street, East Gibson Street, Howell Street, Park Place and Center Street. In addition to these districts, approximately 45 additional buildings and structures throughout the city were designated for historic zoning. Its purpose would be “to provide regulations that would preserve districts and structures which reflect elements of the city’s cultural, social, economic, political and architectural heritage.”
    An architectural survey of all the historic buildings and structures was conducted with the help of volunteers from the Ontario County Historical Society who completed the survey by 1979. The historic and architectural components of each building and structure were catalogued and photographed.
    Canandaigua’s city-wide historic district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. Currently, it contains approximately 354 residential, commercial, religious and civic properties and includes, in addition to the original seven districts, the Bristol Street, Brigham Hall and Bemis Street districts. The boathouses on the City Pier were also given historic designation in 1990.
    By 1976, the Urban Renewal Agency had modified its plans and focused on better shopping access to downtown as well as more convenient parking areas behind the South Main Street stores. By 1980, projects that were completed included a new parking area south of Niagara Street and west of Lafayette Avenue, the extension of Lafayette Avenue to Center Street, a new Mill Street parking area, and the widening of Bemis Street between Bristol and Chapin Street. In addition, between 1979 and 1983, the City of Canandaigua received funding and support for a Community Development Grant program that helped downtown businesses upgrade their properties and made several homes in the downtown area eligible for upgrades.
    Page 2 of 2 - The efforts at historic preservation in the City of Canandaigua have allowed our community to protect and improve the quality of life enjoyed by its residents and the many people who come here to visit. All of this would not have been possible without the help of many local residents — too many to name — who volunteered their time and effort, and who foresaw the importance of this movement and the impact it has had on our community.
      • calendar