Residents on lakefront prepare for flooding and increased property values


For homeowners like Jay Dorney, living by the lakeshore comes with investment and commitment.

Dorney’s home on the shore of Lake Ontario had a breakwall that faced severe damage from the 2017 spring flooding, leaving him to rebuild an even stronger breakwall than before.

A wooden staircase leading down to Dorney’s waterfront had also been destroyed. If water gets too close to property, it can put septic systems in danger as well.

Each spring, Dorney, along with many other homeowners, are fearful of repeating their renovations all over again.

Although this season is bringing some flooding to the lake community, there have been no reports of any damage similar to that of 2017.

“It [2017] was demoralizing,” said Dorney. “It was depressing because my family and I used to go down there and have picnics and pick flowers.”

In 2017, a state grant provided support for people like Dorney who endured water damage along Lake Ontario. As a response to threatening water levels this year, towns in the Rochester area have been providing sandbags and other equipment to battle the water.

Greece Town Assessor Richard Baart said the town has reinvested a substantial amount in the lakefront community. “We’ve invested shut-off valves, sandbags and other infrastructure this year, to help avoid flooding similar to 2017. It seems like its working pretty well this year,” he said.

Baart added that the town also stresses the safety and protection of homes on pondfronts.

But, the work residents put into rebuilding and protecting their lakefront homes is reflected in higher property values and higher taxes. With Grievance Day coming up, these homeowners can contest their assessment if they wish.

“The homeowner needs to know the assessor is assumed right,” said Dan Stanford, Hamlin assessor.

“The burden of proof is on the homeowner. You need to fill out the proper forms, and if you want a reduction assessment it’s a good idea to provide some supporting documentation,” he said.

For people like Dorney, living by the lake may just be worth all the risks and investment.

“I got a reassessment notice maybe three months ago, where they raised the assessment. It doesn’t bother me. It’s just wonderful here, I’d stay here if they raised it even more,” Dorney said.

Click here to learn more about Greece’s Grievance Day, or here to learn about Hamlin’s Grievance Day.

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