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Penfield residents discuss future of Shadow Pines

Residents packed the Penfield Community Center to discuss the future of Shadow Pines
Tianna Manon/WXXI News
Residents packed the Penfield Community Center to discuss the future of Shadow Pines

Penfield’s Shadow Pines golf course continues to generate debate. The 212-acre golf course could become the site of more than 200 homes or it could be a public space for recreational use.

On Thursday, members of Save Shadow Pines, residents and town leaders came together for a public information session. Members Jeff Burns and Samuel Ogie discussed the impact more houses there could have on local traffic and on education costs.

“So this is the way things often go,” said Burns regarding developers purchasing large blocks of land. “You have a beautiful area and then they name the development after all the beautiful stuff that’s been paved over. How many times have you seen this? Let’s not let it happen to Shadow Pines. Let’s save Shadow Pines instead of naming a housing development after it.”

That’s up to the residents.

Next week, they’ll be asked to vote on whether the town should purchase the land and the Clark House and other buildings on the site. That would cost the town more than $3.5 million, according to town leaders but would allow for different uses. There’s the suggestion of allowing the quarry pit to fill with water and become a lake, place a senior housing building there or simply decide later but allowing the town to own the land would give residents more time to decide what goes there.

“So the quarry will be a lake,” said Burns. “Can you imagine a 150-acre lake with an adjacent park and a beautiful golf course, Shadow Lake is just up the road, and what a magnet this would be for attracting  businesses and residents to Penfield?

Burns says a lake that large would be fit for sailing and other larger-scale water activities.

The Penfield Town Board had already passed a measure to buy the land but the process for that approval drew some strong criticism. Residents wanted their voices heard and in December collected 1,000 signatures to demand a referendum that was included in the purchasing measure.

Both Ogie and Burns say it’s better to get the land and then decide, rather than allowing developers to simply put the homes up because that’s much harder to undo.

Ogie says whatever goes there should be best for everyone: “Just because it can be done, just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s the right thing for the people in the community.”

Town leaders participated in the session but say they aren't encouraging residents to vote either yes or no. They're staying neutral and simply want residents to make their voice heard so they can move forward.  

During next week's referendum, residents will vote on two propositions: one to borrow $3.39 million for the golf course purchase, and the second to borrow $260,00 for the Clark House and other buildings. Both measures would have to be approved for the town to be able to complete the purchase.

The referendum will be held next Tuesday, February 27 from 6:00 AM to 9:00 PM at the Community Center, 1985 Baird Road.