The Rochester City Council approved design changes for the 501 on First apartment project Monday night, but only after the developer agreed to pay two neighborhood associations to go away, basically.
Here's our story from last night's council meeting, and I need a few more details, but how was this not a "negotiation," as Council Member Mark Bilderback says? And how are we to interpret this as anything more than a quid pro quo -- in exchange for dropping their complaints about balcony railings and stone facing, the Historic Southwest and Downtown neighborhood associations get an undetermined amount of money for landscaping or public art.
I'm also curious -- has this happened before? Do developers routinely make cash payments to neighborhood groups to make them go away, and in this case to allow the City Council the comfort level to take action?