There aren’t enough options for people to rent apartments or buy houses in Ontario County, according to lifelong resident and County Administrator Chris DeBolt.
“We’re trying to identify that this is a problem,” DeBolt said. “It’s a legitimate problem for both our residents and people who may be looking to re-locate here.”
Ontario County officials explain why they’re doing a housing assessment (video)
He explains there are 113,00 residents in Ontario County and counting.
“Honestly I think we’re going to need more of everything,” Debolt added. “Ontario County along with Saratoga County continue to be the only two upstate Counties that continue to grow in population over the last 20 years, and we don’t see any slowing to that so we’re going to need more housing stock in all those categories that you can think of.”
County officials explore housing needs
That’s why DeBolt and his colleagues are doing a housing assessment.
“It effects every resident and every business in the County, trying to figure out what areas geographically need more housing stock and what we as the government can do to help facilitate that. Right now it’s a lot of compiling information. Compiling what studies have been done both from a land-use perspective and from demographic trends, needs.”
Those needs include building infrastructure.
“More houses, more apartments, different kinds of houses, different kinds of apartments, for what ages, do we need more senior housing, do we need more supportive housing, those types of things.”
Business owners on board
Business owners like Mary Ellen West of Aubergine, a table and gift store on Main Street in Canandaigua, says it’s good thing. More options for housing means a better situation for employees.
“Any time you have an influx of new people that’s gonna help the tax base which ultimately is good,” West said. “And it’s good to keep the stores and the restaurants full, which helps us because when you spend locally more money stays locally, and I can hire more staff and give my staff more hours.”
Funds from COVID-19 stimulus package used
Meanwhile DeBolt explains the County is using a portion of the American Rescue Plan Act funds for the study.
They’ve already done competitive procurement and hired Urban Partners out of Philadelphia.
“There will be a ton of County staff time put into this and then they’re the ones kind of running point on this and consolidating everything in to the final report,” DeBolt said. “I think it’s a critical discussion for us to have now to figure out for the next ten and twenty years how do we continue to be a growing community.”
Rebecca is a veteran multimedia journalist serving as one of our core reporters in the Finger Lakes region. She is responsible for telling stories that matter to every day Upstate New Yorkers. Have a question or lead? Send it to [email protected].