City of Rochester Updates- from Master Plans to Big Bright Lights!

Rochester’s Planning Commission has begun the task of updating the city’s master plan. Chairman David Gassen said the commission has conducted a survey of city officials, held seven workshops and drafted a vision statement. The first of four opportunities for public input will be scheduled in October.

The master plan covers everything from design policy to housing density and parking management. It is typically followed by revision of the zoning ordinance.

“The community will be part and parcel of every step in the process,” said city planning consultant Vidya Krishnan of McKenna Associates. “After all, it’s a vision for the community, not just a particular group … so that when we ultimately get there, it will be what they want to see.”

Big Bright Light Show now trademarked

The city has received a trademark on the Big Bright Light Show which it’s hoped can be used to generate revenue for the taxpayer-supported event that defines the holiday season in downtown Rochester.

Already one downtown business, Soy Valley Candle, has requested permission to use the trademark on candles. The city will collect a 20-percent royalty on merchandise sold bearing the mark. The money will help offset the cost of the BBLS.

Mayor Jeff Cuthbertson said the city is also creating a nonprofit organization to accept tax-deductible donations to the BBLS. The city also recently registered the city logo as a trademark.

“It’s important that the city and DDA leverage the good will that we’ve established with our substantial investment in this program,” he said. “This is about trying to make sure we have the resources to put this important program on.”

Japanese steakhouse approved

The owner of Sumo Sushi restaurant in downtown Rochester received city council’s permission to transfer in a liquor license so he can open his second Main Street eatery, a traditional Japanese steakhouse.

Attorney Kelly Allen said the new restaurant will have two levels, seat 199 and employ 18 to 20. She said owner Byung Kim of Oakland Township hopes to open Hibachi House by Thanksgiving at 335 Main, which is currently vacant.

Tunnel of Terror to return

A Halloween tradition in downtown Rochester, the Tunnel of Terror haunted house, will be back this year. The Rochester Area Jaycees will host the event every Friday and Saturday in October in a parking lot off Pine Street near the Rochester Police Department.

Hours are 7:30-10:30 p.m.  Admission is $10. On Saturday, Oct. 8 there will also be a Friendly Monster afternoon for kids from noon-4 p.m. Admission is $2 or two non-perishable food items per child
(parents admitted free).

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