HENRIETTA, N.Y. (WROC) — Planned Parenthood of Central and Western New York has sued the Town of Henrietta, after the town denied a special use permit application.
The special use permit, which was denied in a 3-2 vote in June, would have allowed Planned Parenthood to open a new facility in a plaza off Jefferson Road. Planned Parenthood claims the town rewrote its zoning laws specifically to deny the permit.
The plaza at 376 Jefferson Rd. is labeled a commercial B-1 district. In the 3-2 vote to deny the permit, three town board members argued a medical facility providing surgical procedures in this complex violates town codes because it is “not consistent with the character of those retail uses” already in the plaza.
Planned Parenthood of Central and Western New York CEO Michelle Casey said the town board has approved permits for other medical facilities in B-1 Commercial Zones, including the UR Orthopedics & Physical Performance Center by the mall in 2020.
“There’s tons of urgent cares and dental offices and vision care in the B-1 District in Henrietta,” Casey said, “the biggest one being the University of Rochester putting in that orthopedic center at Marketplace Mall, which is right down the street. They have very little B-2 which is where you can place a health center without having to ask for special permission.”
Members of the Henrietta Town Board would not comment on this pending litigation. Back in June, Henrietta Building and Fire Prevention Director Kevin Wilson stated to the Town Board Planned Parenthood’s application “was found to be in order and all necessary documentation was included and correct.” But in their narrative for denial, councilmembers wrote “the proposed surgical center doesn’t align with the intention of which this property is zoned.”
“This really should have been a simple land use decision according to Henrietta Town Code and it turned into politics of abortion care, rather than having us evaluated for land use in Henrietta like every other business,” Casey said. “There are people currently going without care because there are not enough appointments for people who don’t have the ability to pay for sexual and reproductive healthcare. So, that’s our main desire to expand our services at this property.”
The first appearance date for this case is scheduled for August 25th. Planned Parenthood is asking the judge to instruct the Henrietta Town Board to approve the special use permit, and have the town pay for its legal expenses.