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Reboot for EMMA housing project


Home Leasing is retooling a proposed housing project for Rochester's East Main, Mustard, and Atlantic Avenue neighborhood after the original proposal was unanimously rejected by the city's Planning Commission last month.

The first concept for The Community on East Main was two buildings, one a conversion and one a new build, on East Main Street between Mustard and Palmer Streets. It would've had a total of 76 apartments.

But many EMMA residents didn't like that 57 of the proposed apartments would've been one-bedroom units; the struggling neighborhood needs families, owner-occupancy, and stability to turn itself around, they said.

In its decision, the city's Planning Commission said that the project would have a substantial adverse effect on adjacent properties, and that it would concentrate too many people on one site "in a way that is inconsistent with the surrounding neighborhood character." The project would also affect parking and traffic, the decision says.

The Planning Commission received oral and written testimony about the project from several people, including residents of multiple neighborhood groups. Overwhelmingly, the people that the board heard from were opposed to the proposal, the decision says.

Megan Houppert, development manager for Home Leasing, says that the company is working with its design team to come up with a new proposal to take to the neighborhood. It's early yet, she says, but it may consist of three buildings with townhouses. There would also be more two- and three-bedroom units, she says.

Houppert says that the goal is to come up with a project that everyone, including the neighborhood, will be proud of. Home Leasing expects to submit the revamped project to the city in September, she says.

The original project did have the support of the Beechwood Neighborhood Coalition. Beechwood is adjacent to EMMA and the coalition leadership said that the project would be an asset to the area.