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Spiegel Community Center Renovation: Recently-Asked Questions

1.  Question:  What methodology and data did the Town, its engineers and advisors use to determine the need for parking at the renovated Spiegel Center?


We began with people.  The calculation of the number of spaces included in the current Spiegel Center site plan is based on the number of people using the Spiegel Center.  From that number we can derive an idea of the number of cars to accommodate.

We know how many people use the Spiegel Center and the current Senior Center and when they use them.  People must sign-up for each program.

A typical day during peak hours produces on average:

  • 175 people from 9am to 11am
  • 180 people from 11am to 2 pm
  • 160 people from 6pm to 9pm

This represents people who currently use the Rec Center and who use the current Senior Center, which will be relocated to Spiegel.  These figures also include employees who must park there. 

Across the day, the three time periods average out to about 172 people.  That’s people, not cars. 

Some will be dropped off, including kids in the young children’s programs and people who use the Seniors’ Bus.  Young children’s programs average out at 10 for each daytime bloc (9-11am and 11am – 2pm).  The Senior Bus transports about 10-12 people each day.

So, out of 172 people, we can expect up to about 22 to be dropped off.  (Half that in the evening, when we don’t have the young children’s programs, but we used the number most likely to result in needing fewer parking places, not more).  That leaves 150 people.  Understanding car usage habits as we do, we know that most of them will arrive one-person-per-car.  If we assume that about 25% of the remaining 150 will share rides or be dropped off or will arrive on foot or by bike, that would mean we’d need 113 parking spaces.   

That assumption of 25% not arriving by their own car is the only part of this methodology that’s not driven purely by available data.  It represents a judgment based on experience.  Judging that 25% won’t use their own car may be high or may be low, but it seems reasonable. Based on the reality of how people use cars, that estimate that 25% of patrons will arrive without a car is likely to be high.

Be that as it may, it results in a need for 113 parking places.

The current Spiegel site plan provides for 109 spaces.

The analysis set forth above does not take into account the likely higher enrollments for our rec programs due to having a new and attractive facility.  For that we’re counting on – and are grateful for – the Village’s plan to add 18 on-street parking places on Lincoln Avenue.


Our engineers cross-checked the calculation above by using another method to calculate the necessary parking.  The Monroe County Department of Planning and Development has published a statistical analysis of parking for community centers.  We’ll call it the “P&D Study.”  Its recommendations derive from analyzing the actual experience of nine different community centers of varying sizes. It focuses exclusively on community centers.  Not on other venues where parking is a factor.  Not schools or shopping centers or anything else. 

From the actual experience of the community centers studied, the P&D Study determined a relationship between the square footage of a facility and the amount of parking needed.  This relationship is based on the inside of the building – the square footage – and the statistical relationship between square footage and the number of people to expect.  Not on exterior factors, such as whether the setting of the building is rural, suburban or urban.

The calculation prescribed by the P&D study calls for 110 parking spaces at the renovated Spiegel.


We undertook as well a second cross-check.  Currently, the Spiegel building offers 67 parking places.  The Senior Center, over at 3750 Monroe Avenue, has 60 places set aside and marked for its exclusive use, which are often full at the senior lunches four days a week.  Adding them together gives 127 parking places.  That’s how many parking places we provide now, at both venues collectively.

The Senior programs take place during the day.  That doesn’t mean that other Rec programs, held in parts of the building not used for Senior activities, don’t also take place at the same time.  In addition to Senior programs during the 9-11am hours and the 11am – 2pm hours, the Rec center offers, and will continue to offer in the renovated rec center, the following programs:  aerobics, child care, youth dance, adult ballet, community group reservations (usually for two groups on a typical day in each of the two time periods), and gymnasium programs including pickleball and open gym for parents and tots.  Based on recorded usages and enrollments, we know we can expect 175 people at the Spiegel building from 9 - 11am, and 180 people from 11am – 2pm.

The 127 parking spaces provided now (at two venues) is within striking distance of the 113 spots calculated by the method described above based on actual usage data for the Spiegel Center.  We resolved the difference against the higher number, not wanting to take any more of the green space behind the building than is strictly necessary.  We consider it reasonable and attainable to be able to manage the lower number of parking spaces than we provide now through program scheduling.


Thus, three different methodologies.  One calling for 113 parking places, another for 110, a third for 127.  These collectively take into account usage by different times of day, parking currently provided, parking usage, using program scheduling to minimize needed parking and the Village’s plan to provide additional on-street parking.

The current Spiegel site plan calls for 109 parking places.

You can read about public vetting of the parking plan in the discussion under Question 3, below.

2.  Question:  How did the Town involve the public in the planning process for the Spiegel Center renovation?


Community engagement began in 2014.

The public processes detailed below involved extensive – often intense – discussion with and among Pittsford residents about programming and programming goals for our Community Center.  Those who participated in the many public meetings will recall this well.

Public Input Meetings in 2014

  • Thursday, June 12 – 7PM, Fisher Meeting Room at Pittsford Community Library
  • Tuesday, June 17 – 7PM, Pittsford Fire District Station #2, 465 Mendon Road
  • Saturday, June 21 – 9AM, Fisher Meeting Room at Pittsford Community Library
  • Tuesday, July 1 – 7PM, Pittsford Town Hall, 11 South Main Street
  • July 23, 2014 – with specific invitations to community groups, including:

Historic Pittsford
Pittsford Rotary
American Legion
Pittsford Alliance for Substance Free Youth
Pittsford Youth Services
Pittsford Women’s Club
Pittsford Crew
Philanthropic Education Organization
Pittsford Musicals
Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts

Methods of Publicizing the 2014 Public Input Meetings

  • Press release to Democrat and ChronicleBrighton-Pittsford PostDaily RecordRochester Business JournalWHAM radio, WXXI radio, WROC-TV channel 8, WHEC-TV channel 10, WHAM-TV channel 13, Time-Warner Cable channel 9
  • Town eNews
  • Town website
  • Town Facebook page
  • Town Twitter feed
  • Channel 12
  • Informational large-scale display boards and flyers posted at Town offices and facilities
  • Direct invitation to members of community groups shown above

Public Survey in September 2014

Survey on Community Center given to voters at public referendum on Fields project on September 16, 2014 and filled out there.

From this point forward, all meetings where the Spiegel site plan was presented for public inspection and comment showed a parking configuration similar to the configuration on the most recent plan.

Citizens Advisory Committee on Community Center formed Fall of 2015

Three meetings open to the public held on:

  • February 10, 2016
  • February 24, 2016
  • May 17, 2016

Members of Citizens Advisory Committee:

  • Dr. Joel Agate - Town resident, family participates in Recreation programs, Asst. Professor at SUNY Brockport, Recreation and Leisure Studies
  • Ron Anderson - Parks and Recreation Advisory Board Member and Senior Center participant
  • Peggy Brizee - President of Historic Pittsford and Village Trustee
  • Mark Connors, DDS - Pittsford Family Dental
  • Bob Corby - Pittsford Village Mayor
  • Mary Gehl Doyle, Chair - Town Board member
  • John Limbeck - Planning Board Chairman, former Village Building Inspector and Code Enforcement Officer
  • Nancy Sprenkle - Former Town Planning Board Chairperson
  • Kathy VanderZwaag - Village resident
  • Paul Wilson - Pittsford Parks and Recreation Advisory Board Chairman, and former Director of Recreation for the Town of Pittsford

Parks and Recreation Advisory Board Review:

Public Meeting on May 12, 2016

2016 Public Input Meetings

  • Tuesday, June 21, 2016 at 7pm
  • Wednesday, June 29, 2016 at 7pm
  • Saturday, July 9, 2016 at 10am

All meetings held at the Spiegel Community Center, 35 Lincoln Avenue.  First meeting held in Room 201; subsequent meetings shifted to Dance Studio to accommodate public turnout.

Methods of Publicizing 2016 Public Input Meetings

  • Press release to Democrat and Chronicle, Brighton-Pittsford Post, Daily Record, Rochester Business Journal; WHAM radio, WXXI radio, WROC-TV channel 8, WHEC-TV channel 10, WHAM-TV channel 13, Time-Warner Cable channel 9
  • Town eNews
  • Town website
  • Town Facebook page
  • Town Twitter feed
  • Channel 12
  • Informational large-scale bulletin board posters posted at Town offices and facilities
  • Mailing to every home

Report of Town Board on Community Center – released July 20, 2016

Publicized by press release to Democrat and ChronicleBrighton-Pittsford PostDaily RecordRochester Business JournalWHAM radio, WXXI radio, WROC-TV channel 8, WHEC-TV channel 10, WHAM-TV channel 13, Time-Warner Cable channel 9. Posted on Town website.  Has been on the website ever since: .  Also publicized through Town eNews, Town Facebook page, Town Twitter feed, in Supervisor’s column and in Pittsford Messenger periodic newsletter sent to every home. 

Presentations to Pittsford PTSA

by Town Board members Mary Doyle and Kate Munzinger
With renderings including site plan showing parking lot, at seven elementary/middle/high schools

  • September 19, 2016
  • September 29, 2016
  • October 5, 2016
  • October 11, 2016
  • October 13, 2016
  • October 18, 2016

Pittsford Food Truck & Music Fest – September 10, 2016

South Main Street, Pittsford Village
Spiegel Project information booth with renderings, including site plan showing parking lot configuration.  Event heavily publicized in Town mailings to homes, Pittsford Messenger newsletter, on town website and Town eNews, Facebook page and Twitter feed. Also publicized in Democrat and Chronicle and Brighton-Pittsford Post.

Pittsford Village Farmers Market

Information tent with renderings, including site plan showing parking lot, staffed by Town Board members:

  • September 17, 2016
  • September 24, 2016
  • October 1, 2016
  • October 8, 2016
  • October 15, 2016

Presentation to Pittsford Youth Services

  • September 13, 2016

Design plans including site plan presented.

Presentations to Senior Citizens Center

  • September 6, 2016
  • September 27, 2016
  • May 30, 2017 

Design plans including site plans presented at all meetings.

Pittsford Mustangs game on October 8, 2016

Informational tent staffed by Town Board members, showing site plan. 

Presentation to Friends of Pittsford Village on Sunday, October 16, 2016

Held at Masonic Lodge, 17 Church Street in Pittsford Village. Presentation of renderings, including site plan Version #1 showing parking configuration similar to current plan. (Site plan Version #1 is shown and discussed under Question 3 shown below). 

Town Website

  • “Town Projects” webpage contained Spiegel Community Center project updates starting December 21, 2014
  • Separate page for Community Center project created on June 23, 2016.  Contained all renderings and site plan. Updated continuously from inception
  • Dedicated graphic link to the Community Center Project webpage added to Town website’s homepage on August 1, 2016.  Made Spiegel updates one-click away from homepage.

Supervisor’s Columns

All published in publications below and, in addition, on Town website and in Town eNews.

Pittsford Neighbors Magazine

September, 2016 – Discussed Town Board’s guiding principles for the project and the Town Board Report making a recommendation.  Invited further  public comments.

October, 2016 – Discussed project and invited further public comments.

January, 2017 – Discussed project in “Year in Review” column and invited further public comments.

February, 2017 – Project update, next steps and timeline.  Invited further public comments.

Brighton-Pittsford Post

•  6/12/14

Discussed need for project & public info meeting schedule. Invited public comments.

•  6/26/14

Reminder in column about public information meetings on Spiegel. Encouraged attendance and invited public comments.

•  7/17/14

Discussed status of project following Public Information meetings. Invited public comments.

•  12/11/14

Mentioned project in mentioned in year-end review. Invited public comments.

•  1/19/16 

Update in column about 2015 projects. Invited public comments.

•  1/21/16

Update on next steps for project. Invited public comments.

•  2/4/16

Column devoted to need for public involvement in Town initiatives, including Spiegel. Invited public comments.

•  8/4/16

About Town Board’s recommendation for moving forward with plans. Invited public comments.

•  8/18/16

Discussed Rec Center programming priorities. Invited public comments.

•  9/15/16

Details about Senior Center component of project. Invited public comments.

•  9/29/16

Further update on plan details. Invited public comments.

•  10/1/16

Discussed rationale for the project. Invited public comments.

•  10/13/16

Town Board member Mary Gehl Doyle guest column regarding purpose and opportunity for the project. Invited public comments.

•  10/27/16

Detailed next steps for the project. Invited public comments.

Town eNews Articles

Articles discussing or listing Public Input meetings
eNews Issues of :
• June 6, 2016
• June 15, 2016
• June 22, 2016
• June 29, 2016
• July 7, 2016

Project updates with links to rendering including site plan and to  the Spiegel Project web page on Town website
eNews Issues of :
• September 14, 2016
• September 21, 2016
• September 28, 2016
• October 5, 2016
• October 12, 2016
• October 19, 2016

Project/vote information articles and listings
eNews Issues of :
• August 17, 2016
• August 21, 2016
• October 15, 2016

Additional Published Communications

Senior Center Newsletter of October 2016
Story on front page, citing expanded parking specifically.

Pittsford Messenger newsletter – October, 2016
Mailed to every home in Town, with complete plan information, including expanded parking, initial concept renderings, vote date information.  Contained column by Council Member Mary Doyle discussing the project.  Prominent section showing web address for site plan, showing parking configuration similar to that in current plan but substantially closer to rear property line than in current plan, and all floor plans.

Village of Pittsford Quarterly Newsletter – Fall 2016
Mailed to Village residents. Published by Village administration.  Discussed Spiegel project, citing exhaustive study behind it and that the plan calls for expansion of onsite parking.

Pittsford Messenger newsletter – Spring, 2017
Mailed to every home in Town.  Supervisor’s column mentioned progress on Community Center project.  A separate “Next steps for community center” article outlined anticipated timeline and next steps in detail and contained, again, information that all current plans could be seen on Town website.

Submission of Architectural/Engineering plans to Village for Review – May 15, 2017
By letter to Mayor Corby drafted May 17, 2017, the Town submitted for review a complete set of the architectural and engineering design changes for the Spiegel project.

Additional Public Meetings

February 7, 2017 Town Board meeting

  • Site plan and floor plans presented at public meeting of the Town Board.  Included discussion specifically about parking configuration, similar to parking configuration in current plan but substantially closer to rear property line than in current plan.  Plans posted on Town website and publicized.

March 7, 2017 Town Board meeting

  • Revised site plan and floor plans proposed by HBT architects.  Discussion at that meeting among members of the public present, Town staffers and Town Board members focused on the stormwater runoff plan, which called for an open “pebble creek” for runoff.  A Village resident expressed serious concern about the proposed stormwater arrangements.  Town Board members pursued this point.  Following discussion, the Town Board directed the project engineers, who were present, to design a different stormwater management system.  No comment from members of the public present objected to the parking configuration, which was similar to parking configuration in current plan but substantially closer to rear property line than in current plan.  Plans posted on Town website and publicized.

May 16, 2017 Town Board meeting

  • HBT architects and BME engineers presented revised site plan, based on comments from prior presentation on March 7.  Showed completely redesigned stormwater provisions.  No change in parking plan from previous plan.  No comment from members of the public who were present regarding parking configuration, which was similar to parking configuration in current plan but substantially closer to rear property line than in current plan. Plans posted on Town website and publicized.  This meeting was televised on Channel 12, showing the site plan and floor plans.

May 24, 2017 Public Information Meeting at Village Hall

  • Presentation of floor plans and site plan showing proposed parking configuration.  Meeting publicized by Village of Pittsford, on Pittsford Neighbor-to-Neighbor email list and in Town of Pittsford eNews.  Town ordered change to parking design following comments from Village residents at this meeting. The changes increased the amount of open space to one acre (previously 0.8 acre) and moved the parking lot to no closer than 40 feet from the rear property line (previously 14 feet from rear property line). Also reduced total number of parking spaces overall. 

3.  Question:  What opportunities for public review and comment  did the Town provide for the parking design, specifically?


Every version of the proposed Spiegel site plan presented for public inspection and comment, since early 2016, when the first renderings were prepared, has shown a parking configuration similar to the configuration on the most recent plan. (Except that the current plan - Version 3, shown below - preserves more green space).

The version used throughout 2016, including in all of the public meetings and events where plans were presented, and in all of the meetings soliciting public comment, and on our website, was prepared by Passero Associates. Here it is:

Spiegel Site Plan - early 2016 through early 2017

"Version 1"

Spiegel Concept Site Plan

Public Presentations

  • The parking configuration shown above (“Version 1”) was presented at the public meetings of the Community Center Citizens’ Advisory Committee, held in the Spiegel building to accommodate public attendance, on February 10, 2016, February 24, 2016 and May 17, 2016.
  • Version 1 was presented at the 2016 Public Meetings for the Community Center designed and publicized specifically for obtaining public comment and advice for the project. These were held at the Spiegel building. They occurred on June 21, 2016, June 29, 2016 and July 9, 2016. In the discussion under Question #2, above, we detail how these meetings were publicized extensively.
  • Version 1 was presented at a meeting of Friends of Pittsford Village held on October 16, 2016 in the Masonic Lodge.

In early 2017, the Town brought on board HBT Architects, working in conjunction with BME Engineering for the site plan.  Throughout several early versions, the parking lot configuration remained substantially the same as shown on Version 1, above.  After several changes involving stormwater management design, the engineers furnished the following version in April 2017.  This the Town used in all public presentations subsequently, and on the website, until the next revision, discussed below.  Here is version number 2:

Spiegel Site Plan - April to May, 2017

"Version 2"

Spiegel Site Plan version 2

Version 2, shown above, was the version presented at the Public Information Meeting at Village Hall on Wednesday, May, 24, 2017.  Following comments at that meeting and subsequently, from Village residents and officials, the Town ordered further changes to the parking design.  

Specifically, the significant revisions are:

  • Moving the entire parking lot closer to the building, to preserve green space.  Before, the end of the parking lot was 14 feet from the rear property line at the closest point. Now, it’s more than 40 feet from the rear boundary at the closest point.
  • Reducing the number of proposed parking places in front of the building, such that there will be no parking closer to the street than a line even with the front of the building.  The earlier plan provided for parking right up to the sidewalk.
  • Moving the proposed dumpster pad to a less conspicuous spot in the parking lot.
  • Providing substantially more plantings as a buffer at the end of the proposed parking lot.

The previous parking plan left open 0.8 acres of green space.

An alternative plan substantially consistent with a design suggested by Mayor Corby, would have left open 1.2 acres.  However, that plan did not yield enough parking spaces, providing only 73.  Taking into account parking for the Senior Center employees, who now park at 3750 Monroe Avenue, and who will park at the renovated Spiegel facility, this represented a net loss of parking spaces for patrons at Spiegel, compared to what the facility has now. 

The revised Spiegel parking plan we’ve proposed preserves 1 acre of open space.

Here it is:

Spiegel Site Plan

"Version 3" - Current Version

Spiegel Final Site Plan

Throughout the period of all of the public meetings referenced above,  the Spiegel plans, as revised from time to time and showing the parking configuration, in addition to presentation at all public meetings, were also posted on the town website, with the web address or mention of web accessibility shown repeatedly in the town newsletter mailed to every home, in the Supervisor’s columns and in the town eNews. 

There were numerous other presentations over the same period, to community groups, the PTSA, Pittsford Youth Services, the Senior Center and elsewhere, as detailed more fully in the discussion under Question # 2, above.

4.  Question:  Must the Town, as owner of the Spiegel Building and land, go through the Village planning processes?

The Town must submit to the Village, for approval, a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan for the site.  The Town is preparing the plan and will submit it to the Village.

Beyond that, the Town is not required to submit to Village approval processes such as the Village Planning and Zoning Board or the Village Architectural Preservation and Review Board.  The rule was established in the case Matter of County of Monroe (City of Rochester), 72 NY2d 338 (1988).  It held that the County, which owns the Greater Rochester International Airport, was not required to submit to the City of Rochester’s planning and review processes, even though the airport is located within the City limits.  The court prescribed a multipart test to determine whether a municipality that’s host to property owned by another municipality can claim jurisdiction. 

In applying this test, the clear preponderance of cases decided in reliance on Matter of County of Monroe have found that the host municipality does not have jurisdiction.  Most recently, this was the outcome in Incorporated Village of Munsey Park v. Manhasset-Lakeville Water District, 150 AD3d 969 (2d Dep’t 2017).

Thus, when the Pittsford Community Library was constructed in 2005, no submissions were made to the Village Planning or Architectural Boards.

However, rather than focus on the legal distinctions, the Town and its officials have asked the Village government, both formally by letter in May of this year, and informally, for their comments and requested changes to the proposed Spiegel design.  

To some of the requests there were unavoidable practical impediments.  Reorienting the parking lot from the proposed North-South configuration to an East-West configuration fell into that category, to everyone’s regret, because it could not provide adequate parking, as described more fully in the answer to Question 1, above.

However, the Town agreed to all comments and requests from the Village officials and residents regarding the street-facing side of the building and grounds.  It accommodated other requests as well, including requests regarding the type of windows to be installed, site lighting on the building and on the grounds, and the type of mortar to be used in repointing the building’s brickwork, for example. 

5.  Question:  Why not reduce the number of parking places in the renovation, then add more later if they’re needed? 

  • We know now how many parking places we need, because we know how many people use the facility.  See discussion under Question 1 for the data-based methodologies used to determine that number.
  • If anything, we’re slightly underestimating the number of parking places needed.  But as mentioned above, we’re relying in part on the Village’s plan to add 18 more parking places on Lincoln Avenue.
  • The design must accommodate applicable stormwater regulations.  To go back after the fact would be costly and require an entire redesign of the storm water plan.
  • During construction, staging of materials and equipment may take place on the back field which will likely damage the current green space even if it were not subsequently incorporated into the parking lot.
  • The Spiegel Center would have to close down, or interrupt business, for future work on the lot.
  • The Version 1 concept plan shown above, showing a parking lot size larger than the current plan and taking up more of the green space than the current site plan, was supported by 69% of Pittsford voters in the referendum.
  • Among the public comments to the plan that the design accommodates is a recommendation that parking arrangements include a drop-off loop – for safety of children when dropped off by parents and for seniors when dropped off by the Senior Bus.  

6.  Question:  Why move the Senior Center to the Spiegel Building? 

  • Because it will save Town taxpayers more than $100,000 per year in rent that the Town currently pays for the existing Senior Center.
  • Because we can accommodate the senior activities at the renovated Spiegel Building without interfering with or compromising our recreation programs.

7.  Question:  But doesn’t that mean that the renovated Spiegel Building becomes basically a Senior Center?

Not in the least.  There would have been no discussion of moving the Senior Center if it would have impaired our ability to stage the recreation programs that we wish to offer and that are consistent with our programming goals.  And there was a lot of discussion with members of the public, across the 3-year span of community engagement with this process, about programming. 

How do we accommodate both?

  • Scheduling.  Senior programs take place during the day, when use of the community center for other recreation programs is lowest.
  • Location.  Senior programs will be offered in the rooms in the building that are not used, and traditionally haven’t been, for the other daytime programs.  Daytime programs principally involve the children’s areas and the dance studio and rooms.  Scheduling resolves any other potential conflicts.
  • Design.   All rooms intended for use by senior programs are designed as multi-use rooms.