Pines of Perinton Update

Pines of Perinton Update

Pines of Perinton Construction Update

The following are my comments to the Perinton Town Board at its February 14, 2024 meeting regarding the Pines of Perinton. This is a 50+ year old, subsidized/low-income housing development comprised of approximately 500 units and 1200 people including at least 200 children who attend school in the Fairport School District. The Pines is currently is undergoing a ~$137 million renovation of all the units. Note that the attachments referenced in my comments are not included in this post but are available upon request.


“In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, please consider my comments as a ‘Valentine’ to all Pines Residents. It’s also Ash Wednesday and Frederick Douglass’s birthday so there’s also the repentance aspect to consider in each of our lives as the Christian Lent begins.

First, some brief background: My engagement with the Town over the past year has included the Pines; Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI); and Affordable Housing & Inclusionary Zoning Recommendations

I have spoken at roughly 12 meetings since 1/25/23 including Town Board and individual meetings with Ciaran, Brian Dick, Nina Cypher, Mike Doser, and other Town officials.

And now once again re: the Pines as related to the discussion at the last Town Board meeting on 1/24.

Some brief history to clarify the record of that meeting regarding the $137m Pines renovation project:

  • 3/17/23: Discussion with Town Supervisor C. Hanna in his office to discuss the Pines including scheduling a meeting with key Town staff and Pines advocates re: the renovation project
  • 5/17/23 meeting (see attached agenda) in C. Hanna’s office including Ciaran, Joe LaFay, Jason Kennedy, Greg Seigfred, Tiffany Porter, Karin Nowicki, and myself. The key discussion topic was the predictability of issues and potential problems associated with the project. Ciaran indicated he would get notes out re: what was discussed and agreed to schedule a follow-up meeting in the summer per my request. Note: neither ever happened. 
  • 6/28/23: I spoke at the Town Board Meeting (see attached comments) about this 5/17 meeting and indicated that both Supervisor Hanna’s follow-up commitments were still outstanding
  • 1/24/24 Town Board Meeting: Public outcry on how horrible the residents were being treated due to project related issues. The Supervisor stated that up until just recently he was not aware of any problems. At best, this is a disingenuous statement to make based on our meetings last year including the previously mentioned predictability of complex operational issues, especially given the project timeline, 500 units, and involving ~1200 residents

Bottomline: As presented by five public speakers on 1/24, the current issues associated with this project were predictable and discussed almost a year ago.  The Town was made aware of this well before the public outcry at the last meeting, which concluded with “Mary’s” statement of her now considering not only considering leaving the Pines, but moving from Fairport altogether after 20 years of living at the Pines. As a Town resident, I was personally embarrassed by what Mary said and perhaps you were as well. Question: Has anyone on the Town Staff or Board attempted to reach out to her to find out more about this?

Here are some personal updates since the last Board meeting:

  • 1/25/24:  I wrote an email (see attached) to Supervisor Hanna to refresh his memory of the 5/16/23 Pines meeting in his office as well as some suggestions re: how to move forward on correcting the many enduring issues at the Pines. This also included a reminder about another meeting he was supposed to be arranging with Mike Doser, himself, and me to discuss several Inclusionary Zoning recommendations forwarded to him last September. This had been previously committed to by Supervisor Hanna in a meeting I had in his office last December
  • 1/26/24: I called the Supervisors’ office and left a v-mail following up on my 1/25 e-mail and asked him to call me. He has not responded to either the e-mail or v-mail
  • 1/27/24: I sent an e-mail re: the Pines’ situation to several people in my network encouraging them to have their voices heard about what is going on and that the Town should step-up. I sent another e-mail this week and I received several comments that I forwarded to the Town Board yesterday
  • 2/2/24: I visited three other local Winn managed and/or owned properties in Henrietta, Chili, and Greece. I talked to the office managers in all three about a variety of things. The first two were very cordial, professional, and the properties were well-kept, at least the exteriors and grounds. The one in Greece was just the opposite and in terms of the grounds, there was trash strewn/blown across the entire campus. Each of them had waiting lists of 1-3 years.
  • 2/6/24: Tiffany Porter and I visited three Pines apartments as follows:
    • Unit on Locust Lane that is pending renovation. Observations: it showed the need for renovation in many respects. It also highlighted the requirement for proper coordination of the temporary move process with the 30-day notice that is supposed to be provided. Note that “Mary” on 1/24 said she was only given 3 days’ notice.
    • Unit on Evergreen Circle that has been recently renovated. Words cannot describe how awful the so-called “workmanship” that was done. Additionally, the Winn contractors must come back to finish the work on all the windows and most doors. Furthermore, the tenant had items stolen or lost including the washer/dryer which was supposedly under the watchful eye of the contractors. I could go on, but based on my own personal experience with this type of project, UNACCEPTABLE doesn’t even describe the shabby work that was done as well as damage done to other parts of the apartment by the contractors or things not fixed properly. I don’t know how much money of the $137m is actually going into the 500 units, but there ought to be an accounting of how the money is being spent given the lack of quality I observed. To top it off, the tenant is now at risk of eviction and is hesitant to complain for fear of retribution. This is an ongoing, heartbreaking storyline in how Winn treats many of their tenants.
    • Unit on Honeysuckle that is one of the “Hospitality” Suites. Two things here: the presence of mold in the living room which should have been rectified before even using it and then calling it a “Hospitality Suite”! Note at the 1/24 Town Board meeting the complaints made about the Hospitality Suites. On top of this, the current tenant suffers with chronic breathing issues. But another important thing here is that the tenant, while her unit is being renovated, is a single, older female in a 4-bedroom apartment! This speaks to the apparent poor project management expertise hired for this renovation. Her boyfriend who has construction background even commented to her about the shoddy work that DiMarco is doing
  • 2/8/24: Visit to Winn offices in Sibley Tower where I was able to have a tour of one of their ‘Spectra’ market rate units. They have two other types of housing at the Sibley’s location: what they call “Affordable 55+” (The Landmark) and “Moderately Priced” (Liberty Lofts); rents for both are income based. There are seven Winn staff members including the Property Manager. They also have three senior, regional VP’s with offices there which were hard to locate. ‘Spectra” is the only one with current availability; the other two have 3-6 month waiting periods; a total of ~300 units among the three types. Bottomline: from what I observed, this Winn facility has the professionalism, systems, processes, and much more that if the Pines just had half of, I don’t think I’d have to be speaking here tonight. So, I ask myself the question “ why is that the case?”.  In my opinion, the answers to this are unfortunately obvious: classism at its worst.
  • 2/9/24: I received a Town of Perinton flyer the Building and Codes Department titled a January 2024 “Pines of Perinton Construction Update” apparently meant for Pines residents. This can be seen in the picture above as part of this post. It’s not clear if there were previous updates since the project began last year. The following are just some of the comments/questions/suggestions per the order of “Key Points”: #1… any discussion re: “resident concerns” should include the Tenants Association. #2 Point …. Inspection of Hospitality Units: as commented on previously per my observations, there are apparent deficiencies in these inspections. Furthermore, there should be inspections of all renovated units after the work is “completed”. Again, based on my observations, I think the Town will be very taken aback by the deficiencies in alleged “completed work”. Also, the tracking and follow-through on any deficiencies should be rigorous by Building and Codes with strict enforcement adherence. #3 Point … Again, it’s all in the follow-thru and enforcement with penalties introduced for non-adherence in a timely manner. “Construction Progress”: this whole section should be revisited for accuracy, especially the last sentence. “Moving Assistance”: strict adherence again should be imposed on the 30-day notice to residents’ stipulation; recall “Mary’s” comments last month about three days’ notice. Also, there ought to be proper tracking on residents’ property lost or stolen with reports provided to the Town for possible criminal violations. This is allegedly under the purview and “watchful eyes” of Winn contractors “Housing to Homes” and/or DiMarco. I encourage the Town to check into the quality of the work through the Tenants Association. I also sent Ciaran comments and questions about this flyer as well as a follow-up request again to my 1/25 e-mail. Again, no response.

So, what can be done to begin to rectify this overall situation at the Pines? On 2/15/24, there will be a meeting with the Rochester Alliance of Communities Transforming Society (Roc/ACTS) and the Empire Justice Center (EJC) with the Pines Tenants Association and advocates to discuss possible next steps. As part of this, an assessment will be made as to how these two agencies might assist Pines’ residents in the pursuit of justice and correcting their ongoing plight when they are simply trying to live their lives nobly and with dignity. There must be ways where both Winn and the Town can demonstrate much more “compassion and heart” into this process, let alone that Winn and its contractors should be doing their jobs properly in the first place in contrast to what I observed at other Winn properties in Henrietta, Chili, and Sibley Tower. Also, please see Winn’s ‘Connected Communities’ website ( and ask Winn how this program relates to the Pines when it states “clients and residents are our focus; they are our priority as we nurture mutually beneficial relationships”. This simply is not happening at the Pines.

Some closing comments:

  • You will soon be hearing from some Pines residents tonight who are probably not used to speaking in a forum like this. I hope you will listen to their voices with compassion to help put them at ease
  • You will hear from people who are living in conditions that most of us “non-Pines” residents in this room would find completely unacceptable and taking contractors to court
  • To add to this, their voices in many cases have been silenced and mitigated by fear of retribution and eviction by the Winn staff on campus and the institutional processes that are intimidating and ineffective in meeting their needs. These are the primary reasons why the Town isn’t called about their complaints.
  • Please Note: This is very important for you to understand and not to use as a fallback excuse that residents didn’t call you
  • Compassionate processes must be put in place and Winn, the Town, State officials and others have an obligation to understand this. And for two distinct purposes: both the Renovation Project issues and regular, ongoing maintenance, rent disputes, etc.
  • Re: resident complaints about the Renovation Project, in many cases there is a vicious cycle of finger pointing among the contractors when complaints are made resulting in remedial work and action steps not getting done  
  • How can “compassionate” and effective processes be developed by the Town? Very simply: by Jason Kennedy and Greg Seigfred sitting down, meeting, discussing, then developing effective processes with the newly formed Tenants Association vs. simply sending out “flyer updates”
  • Then Jason, Greg and the Tenants Association can meet with the local Winn staff and the renovation contractors to connect the process steps necessary so that residents wouldn’t have to call the Town at all!
  • Bottomline: Resident trust with Winn, the contractors, and the Town must be restored and these suggestions provide a partial blueprint to help restore their trust in you and them
  • Final Question: What is the status of Supervisor Hanna’s meeting with Winn that was supposed to happen the week of 1/29 that he said was being set-up at the 1/24 Town Board meeting?

I will be back on the 28th for ongoing updates and questions for the Town Board. My plan is to continue bringing matters re: the Pines to these Town Board meetings for the foreseeable future including the pursuit of full accountability and responsibility on the part of the entire Town Board and staff involved with the Pines in any way on behalf of all the Pines citizens. A possible goal for the Board to consider: by the end of Lent to be fully and effectively on the road to recovery at the Pines.

Thanks for your attention …  this isn’t that hard if your hearts are really into it.”

2.15.24 Updates

From the 2/14/24 Town Board Meeting:

  • News report about the meeting:
  • Seven speakers made comments about the deplorable conditions at the Pines brought about most recently by the Winn/DiMarco renovation project, although much that was highlighted has been brought up before over the past several years and exacerbated by this 2–3-year, $137m project
  • Essentially these comments completely refuted the Town Supervisor’s previous glowing statement earlier in the meeting that the project was “working well”
  • He referenced a recent meeting he had with Winn staff, their contractors, and Town staff which unfortunately excluded, apparently intentionally, any Pines residents. The failure regarding the lack of transparency and resident mistrust this causes was included in my remarks
  • I had previously recommended to the Supervisor on January 25th that the newly formed Pines Tenants Association be part of this meeting and included at any future such update meetings. Going forward the Tenants Association must be included … there literally is no acceptable excuse or rationale
  • Separately Winn and the Tenants Association are attempting to arrange an introductory meeting and the Association is hopeful it will be scheduled this month
  • I could go on with many other comments, observations, etc. about last evenings’ meeting. So, if any one has any further questions, please contact me directly

Other Updates:

  • Zoom meeting this morning with the Executive Director/Community Organizer of Roc/ACTS and a Board member of the Empire Justice Center with the Tenants Association and advocates. Both organizations are very interested in helping the Tenants Association in a variety of significant ways. More to follow on this important development
  • I will be requesting to the Town Board that their next Board meeting on 2/28 include this ‘human crisis’ at the Pines on the full meeting agenda and not just commented on in the Supervisor and Public comments segments with no discussion by the full Board or the Public. Additionally, this crisis at the Pines should remain on the Town Board agenda until there is no further need

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