Author: Rachel Barnhart
The City of Rochester is considering a dramatic proposal to regulate neighborhood associations.
Little Italy Neighborhood Association President Silvano Orsi said a City Council aide gave some neighborhood leaders a copy.
The document sets out requirements for neighborhood groups to be “officially recognized” by the city. Those requirements include being a 501c3 corporation, electing officers every two years, term-limiting leaders, including faith leaders, and having at least 1 percent of the households in the area make up membership.
Groups have to meet all guidelines to be officially recognized by the city and allowed to participate in the monthly Neighborhood Association Presidents meeting.
Charlotte Community Association President Jonathan Hardin fears the city wants to pick and choose who is at the table. “It seems they only want to deal with 501c3 associations and find a way to limit our voices.”
Orsi believes the proposal is not legal, as it imposes a requirement to include religious leaders. He also notes the city cannot dictate a separate nonprofit entity’s bylaws.
Orsi believes the city wants to control public participation on issues related to development.
“It seems to be a pay to play scam to allow developers to bypass longtime existing associations and go to newly created associations by friends of the city to push through projects,” Orsi said.
Hardin said the city plans to further discuss the proposal with the neighborhood groups at the next meeting of presidents later this month.