PITTSFORD, N.Y. (WROC)  — It’s been a hot topic in the Village of Pittsford for many years: 75 Monroe Ave.

The large parcel of vacant land lies along the Erie Canal. For nearly 15 years, developer Mark IV has been trying to turn it into a residential complex. The project is also known as Westport Crossings.

The proposal has been a saga for years; a controversial topic among residents, village officials, and the developers themselves.

After several lawsuits, dozens of board meetings, and changes in village leadership, the project may finally be nearing the final stages of approval.

On Thursday evening, the project went before the village’s Historic Preservation Board.

Sources tell News 8 that the board had to answer this question: would the proposed apartment complex fit the state guidelines along a waterfront? In other words, is there enough public access, preservation of history, and protection of water quality? The complex must align with the state’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan.

During the meeting, the HPB determined that the project was consistent with the LWRP. That means the project will be built once it passes an amended site plan review and Certificate of Appropriateness from the HPB.

Former mayor Bob Corby expressed his concerns as a resident on Thursday.

“From the beginning, the village has asked for a project that fits the context of the village and the canal, both in terms of scale, walkable design, with amenities, street trees sidewalks,” said Corby. “Not just a suburban pod that’s only reached by cars.”

Corby said he supports the general idea but is concerned with the details.

“Is there a public benefit? It’s hard to believe that this project constitutes some significant public benefit, the village is already bracketed by large apartment complexes,” he said. “One of the points I’ve raised from day one in 2012, is the lack of significant street trees.”

The project has been put on hold many times, after several lawsuits between both the village and the developer

A few years ago, the village was also ordered to pay up after a judge found it guilty of violating open meeting laws, with regard to the project.

Pittsford Mayor Alysa Plummer said she doesn’t have a lot to comment, on other than she supports the developer’s right to build.

While developers and representatives for Mark IV were not available to interview, they provided us with the following statement:

Over the last year and a half the Westport Crossing Project located at 75 Monroe Avenue in the Village of Pittsford has undergone a significant redesign.  Developer Mark IV Enterprises, Property Owner Pittsford Canalside Properties together with CJS Architects and BME Engineering have worked closely with the Village of Pittsford Historic Preservation Board to revise and reduce the design. 

The final design is more than 30% smaller than the previous design including a significant reduction in apartment units. The buildings are narrower, not as tall, and we have eliminated the building closest to Monroe Avenue. The new concept has more underground parking and more green space on the site. The architectural design incorporates green infrastructure and embodies a historic Erie Canal commercial style while reflecting the architectural heritage of the Village of Pittsford. 

For the first time in history, the property will allow public access to the site through a network of sidewalks with benches and gazebos and from the public dock along the Canal. 

For decades this site was a highly contaminated industrial oil facility and fueling station that spued noxious fumes into the air and oozed petroleum into our local canal network. There will now be a fully environmentally remediated residential neighborhood designed to complement and integrate into the Village of Pittsford that will offer a much-needed housing option, amenities, and additional point of canal access to the public.      

Pittsford Canalside Properties has recently received amended site plan approval from the Village Planning Board.  We are greatly appreciative of the work of the various Village Boards and staff and look forward to completing the final approvals shortly. The New York State Brownfield remediation clean-up process has been fully completed by the developer and it is our hope to begin construction in the Spring and have apartments available by the beginning of 2024.

There is also an application for a restaurant in the proposal, which is still undergoing review.

All of the public board meetings on this topic can be viewed on the Village of Pittsford YouTube page.