by Rick Armon

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

November 20, 2002

City residents now have a new weapon to fight unwanted noise — depositions.

Under legislation approved unanimously Tuesday night by City Council, police can use depositions from residents to file noise complaints. Before, police couldn’t write citations unless they witnessed the violation.

The change was prompted by citizen complaints. The Rochester Soundscape Society, formed earlier this year, has groused that police are not actively enforcing the noise ordinance.

“Quiet is an important component in building the character of our youth,” said James Kaufmann, founder of the group. He was one of six people who spoke in favor of the legislation before council approved it.

In September, Noise Free America awarded Rochester the group’s Noisy Dozen award, citing city officials’ “dismal failure” to address the problem of loud car stereos.

City officials said the new law would “further empower our citizens to improve the quality of life in their neighborhoods.”

Councilman Benjamin Douglas said the administration will develop a report in a year to make sure residents aren’t using the new law in a vindictive way against neighbors.

Police also are permitted to use depositions to file complaints about dogs.

Other council actions:

•Approval of spending $25,000 to hire ICON Architecture Inc. of Boston to help redevelop the stretch of East Main Street from the Genesee River to Chestnut Street.

In January, the mayor created the East Main Street Task Force — a mix of city officials and property owners who have developed a specific agenda for the stretch. ICON will organize more meetings, identify funding sources and do a detailed analysis.

The task force’s ideas include trying to bring more first-floor retail businesses and housing to the area; supporting the construction of a bus terminal, performing arts center and Monroe Community College training center; demolishing underused buildings; and revitalizing key properties such as Midtown Plaza, the Sibley Center and the Granite Building.

•Agreement to spend $10,000 on the city’s Flower City Looking Good Program, which promotes the planting of flowers in neighborhoods. The money is expected to purchase 17,000 plants, 3,500 bulbs, 100 tons of topsoil and other material.

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