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Learn more about the Monroe CLEAR study area communities. The following communities are outlined below (click to jump to a specific section):


The Town of Greece is located in the west-central portion of the Study Area and is bordered by the Towns of Gates, Ogden, and Parma and by the City of Rochester. By population and land area, it is one of the largest municipalities in the Study Area, and it has an active and ecologically complex Lake Ontario shoreline.



Greece has seen consistent population growth in recent years, due in part to its strong job and housing markets. The town has large lakefront neighborhoods, which take advantage of its low-lying shoreline – a feature that differentiates it from other municipalities. Outside the City of Rochester, Greece has some of the higher indicators of social vulnerability, including a relatively high poverty rate and a high minority population. Social vulnerability is less concentrated on the shoreline (and more concentrated near the city).


Flood Events

Properties along Lake Ontario in Greece are particularly vulnerable to flood because of the Town’s low-lying shoreline. According to FEMA, 2,800 properties in the town are at risk of flooding.


In 2017, high lake levels and winds caused water to overrun shoreline barriers and flood homes and properties along shoreline neighborhoods in the Town of Greece. The Town deployed over 250,000 sandbags. Residents and properties on Edgemere Drive were hardest hit. In 2019, high winds caused the lake, at a record level, to overrun lakeshore neighborhoods of Greece. Residents reported shin-deep water in many areas. Hip-deep water was reported along Edgemere Drive. The Town of Greece was forced to close several roads due to flooding.


Some homeowners, after enduring two major flood events in three years, are reportedly considering foreclosure.

Community Identified Features

Greece residents value the Lake Ontario waterfront and the habitat and recreation it provides. Several sites have been identified as potential development sites through community planning processes.

The Town of Greece’s Comprehensive Plan (2020) identifies a number of important assets including the waterfront and access to it, as well as the potential redevelopment of waterfront restaurants and a former industrial site, the Odenbach Shipyard). The Comprehensive Plan also discusses infrastructure and flood mitigation techniques.


The Town of Greece has a Parks and Recreation Master Plan (2016) that communicates the community’s vision for recreation space and leisure.


Greece DOS Map.PNG

The Town of Hamlin is located in the westernmost corner of the Study Area and is bordered by the Towns of Parma and Clarkson and the Town of Kendall in Orleans County. It is one of the more rural towns in the Study Area with a significant portion of agricultural land. The town is also a bedroom community, with more residences than jobs.



Hamlin is the smallest municipality in the study area by population and it experiences more seasonal variation in residents than the rest of the Study Area. Half of housing units are occupied only seasonally, with many of these being lakefront residences. Hamlin’s housing stock is also unique in the Study Area in that it has the largest proportion of mobile homes, which are not designed to withstand flooding or other severe weather events and therefore could make their residents more susceptible to flood events.


Flood Events

During the 2017 and 2019 high-water events, some portions of Hamlin’s Lake Ontario shoreline experienced severe erosion and some homes flooded, particularly along Wautoma Beach Road. Erosion is predicted to continue being an issue in the future, with Hamlin projected to experience some of the most accelerated rates of shoreline erosion in the Study Area. Due to flooding, more than 300 Hamlin residences could not use on-site septic systems in 2017. Many of these residences were forced to temporarily rely on shared portable toilets. In 2019, aquadams were installed to protect homes and properties.                   


To prepare for future events, the Town plans to update its LWRP and has received grant funding from the State to implement several resiliency projects along its shoreline.

Community Identified Features

The Town of Hamlin, through multiple planning efforts and in collaboration with residents and other stakeholders, identified multiple sites as existing assets and earmarked others for future development. A survey of residents in the Town’s Comprehensive Plan (2007) highlighted the value of Hamlin’s parks, open spaces, recreation opportunities, water resources, and farmland. Its LWRP, which was completed a year later, identified multiple sites with significant potential to increase public access to the waterfront.

Projects, Plans and Resources


The Town of Irondequoit is located in the eastern portion of the Study Area and is bordered by the Towns of Penfield and Webster and the City of Rochester. It has frontage along three waterbodies: Lake Ontario, Irondequoit Bay, and the Genesee River.



Irondequoit has a unique lakefront culture with several water-based retail and recreation areas and a considerable amount of lakefront residences, some of which are vacation homes. However, since the turn of the century, Irondequoit has seen slow but steady declines in its population and minimal rates of new construction. Both its population and housing stock are aging. Areas north of the Ridge Road corridor (near Route 104) are more socially vulnerable to disaster than others to disaster, and may need assistance preparing for or recovering from potential flood events.


Flood Events

In 2017 and 2019, high-water events flooded homes and businesses along the lake, river, and bay, in some cases causing significant damage. In response to these events, the Town began updating its Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP) and applied for and received funding from the Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative (REDI) to implement six resiliency projects along its Irondequoit Bay shoreline.

In 2019, National Guard crews assisted the Town of Irondequoit in the set up of aquadams and the construction of sandbag walls to help protect properties and homes from rising waters and flooding. A 450-foot sandbag wall was installed on Bay Shore Boulevard to protect some homes that were already experiencing basement flooding.


Multiple longstanding businesses were severely impacted by the flood events of 2017 and 2019. Silk O’Loughlin’s, a popular bar on the east side of the Genesee River, was forced to close during both events due to flooding when waves crashed over the pier, patio, and parking lot and went inside the bar. In 2019, Silk O’Loughlin’s was closed from May to August, and could only reopen with limited service. Marge’s Lakeside Inn, a popular Sea Breeze beach-front bar was forced to close its famous beach access due to high waters.


Community Identified Features

The Town of Irondequoit is surrounded by three bodies of water — a point of pride in the community. Improving access to and promoting sustainable development along these waterfronts is important to the Town and the community.


Many waterfront features were identified as community assets in the Town’s Comprehensive Master Plan Update (2014). As part of the Town’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (1988), several projects were identified to enhance access to the waterfront and others were earmarked as potential development sites. In 2020, the Town began updating its LWRP and identifying new preliminary project sites.


The Town of Parma is located in the western portion of the Study Area and is bordered by the Towns of Hamlin, Greece, Clarkson, and Ogden. It is more rural than some of the other towns in the Study Area and has mostly agricultural and residential land uses. Activity is most concentrated in the Village of Hilton.



Though it is one of the smaller municipalities in the Study Area by population, Parma has seen consistent growth since 2000. It has a strong housing market, with sizeable rates of new construction in recent years, which is buoyed as well by a strong seasonal (or vacation) home market. While the town overall enjoys one of the higher median incomes in the Study Area, residents in the Village of Hilton are slightly more disadvantaged. The Village has a large youth population and the largest proportion of single-parent households in the Study Area – two groups that are more socially vulnerable to flooding and may need more assistance during flood events.


Flood Events

Past flood events have caused significant damage to homes near Bogus Point and Wautoma Beach Road, whose shoreline is projected to experience accelerated erosion rates of more than one foot per year in the future. In 2019, Parma received State funding to implement resiliency projects along Wautoma Beach Road. It also coordinates with the Town of Greece to develop policies for protecting property, business, and water quality through their joint Flood Smart Action Plan.


In 2017, the Bogus Point Park break wall eroded, allowing high waters and wind-driven waves to cause damage to shoreline properties in Parma. In 2019, homeowners along the lakeshore scrambled to stack sandbags and run pumps to keep Lake Ontario waves from inundating their properties and crashing into their homes. Several roads and properties still flooded, causing significant damage.


Community Identified Features

According to the Town of Parma’s Agricultural & Farmland Protection Plan (2009), residents value promoting active and passive recreational areas, as well as increasing waterfront access along the shoreline and the town creeks. The Town of Parma’s Master Plan Update (1989) also highlighted potential development opportunities, specifically along local highways.


The Town of Penfield is located in the southeast corner of the Study Area and is bordered by the Towns of Irondequoit, Webster, Brighton, Pittsford, Perinton, and the Town of Walworth in Wayne County. It is a largely suburban community with waterfront along the southern shore of Irondequoit Bay and commercial corridors along Penfield Road, at Panorama Trail and Route 250.



Penfield’s strong jobs and housing markets, good schools, and its numerous parks and trails make it an attractive suburban community. In recent years, it has outpaced growth in the other CLEAR communities and experienced sizeable levels of new construction. Most families have financial and housing situations that do not increase their risk to floods and other disasters. Penfield’s large senior population and significant number of residents who live in multi-unit structures or mobile homes deserve special consideration, as these groups are inherently more vulnerable to floods.


Flood Events and Programs

Penfield’s location on Irondequoit Bay and Creek make the western portion of the town vulnerable to high-water events. Areas along Empire Boulevard and Panorama Trail are prone to flooding and have experienced road closures and property damage as a result of past high-water events. To address these issues, the Town has completed several flood-related plans and studies, including a LWRP, and has secured funding to implement resiliency projects along Empire Boulevard.


The Town of Penfield was impacted by the events of the June-July 1998 storm (DR-1233), which brought high levels of rainfall over a short period of time, and resulted in approximately $100,000 in damage due to basement flooding.

Penfield DOS Map.PNG

In 2017, Empire Boulevard – a main four-lane thoroughfare that runs along the Irondequoit Bay, connecting Irondequoit and Penfield – flooded, causing the shoulders of the road to be shut down and dammed. Water submerged parking lots on the North side of the road and damaged businesses. The Panorama Trail area, where Irondequoit and Allen’s Creeks meet, is also prone to flooding during heavy rain events, often leaving roads and basements flooded.


Community Identified Features

Penfield residents value the town’s open spaces and access to water, and identified its parks, trails, sidewalks, and proximity to Irondequoit Bay as strengths during the completion of Penfield’s 2010 Comprehensive Plan. Through the LWRP, the south side of Irondequoit Bay, particularly the Empire Boulevard strip, was identified as an opportunity for future development and increased public access to the waterfront.


The Town of Webster is located in the northeast corner of the Study Area and is bordered by the Towns of Irondequoit, Penfield, and the Town of Ontario in Wayne County. It is a largely suburban community with waterfront along Lake Ontario and Irondequoit Bay and commercial corridors along Route 104 and Ridge Road.



In recent years, Webster has experienced significant growth, outpacing other Study Area communities in population and new construction. The town’s expansive shoreline and high quality of life make it an attractive place to live or to own a seasonal home. Most Webster residents live comfortably and do not have financial or housing situations that would make them more vulnerable to flood events. Social vulnerability is slightly higher in the Village of Webster where there are more at-risk populations (like children and seniors) and households are more crowded.


Flood Events

Webster’s Lake Ontario and Irondequoit Bay shorelines and large number of lakefront homes make it vulnerable to flood events. Most recently, the 2017 and 2019 high-water events caused property damage and temporary business closures, particularly along Lake Road. In response to these events, the Town created a relief program for impacted individuals and received millions of dollars in grant funding to implement projects that will improve resiliency along its Lake Ontario shoreline.


In January of 1998, heavy rain caused flash flooding at waterfront properties in Webster that resulted in $100,000 in damages and a Presidential disaster declaration (DR-1196).

During the 2017 and 2019 high-water events, high lake levels and wind- driven waves caused flood damage at lakefront homes and businesses. Many homeowners used sandbags in an


Community Identified Features

Webster residents take great pride in the town’s parks, trails, and expansive waterfront, and want to see these assets preserved and enhanced. They also identified, through the Community Revitalization Plan and LWRP, several priority waterfront sites that are presently underutilized and could be good candidates for potential development.

Webster DOS Map.PNG

The City of Rochester is located in the center of the Study Area and is bordered by the Towns of Brighton, Chili, Gates, Greece, Irondequoit, and Penfield. It the most densely populated municipality in the Study Area, with the highest concentrations of commercial and industrial uses, and frontage along the Genesee River and a small stretch of Lake Ontario.



Rochester has a diverse and vibrant population with unique cultural heritage. It is also an important regional hub and a major jobs center for Monroe County. However, Rochester is also the most disadvantaged municipality in the Study Area. The city’s population has been on the continual decline, many residents struggle financially, and the housing stock is aging. Because of these and other factors, most Rochester residents are socially vulnerable to disaster events and may have more trouble preparing for and recovering from them, as compared to residents of other municipalities.


Flood Events

The City of Rochester was impacted by flood events of the June-July 1998 storm (DR-1233), where heavy rain led to urban flooding.


During the 2017 and 2019 high-water events, flooding was concentrated on Ontario Beach, in the Charlotte neighborhood, and along the west bank of the Genesee River near the Inlet and the Port of Rochester. In the future, the eastern portion of Durand Eastman Park along the beach is expected to experience accelerated erosion. To prepare for possible future flooding events, the City adopted a LWRP which was most recently updated in 2018. In 2019, the City also secured funding to implement resiliency strategies along the west bank of the river.


During the 2017 and 2019 high-water events, Ontario Beach, the Charlotte neighborhood, and businesses along the west bank of the Genesee River were impacted by flooding. Some businesses were forced to temporarily close to deal with the rising waters. The Port of Rochester Marina also closed due to unsafe launching conditions.


Community Identified Features

As part of the Rochester 2034 Comprehensive Plan (2019), residents identified several community assets including the Genesee Riverway Trail, High Falls, and the Port of Rochester. The Port site, as well as others, were highlighted in the City’s LWRP (2018) as potential development sites, both for public uses including access to the waterfront and other uses like office and housing. A number of projects are in the process of implementation, including the Port of Rochester Redevelopment and Roc the Riverway Initiative to transform the Genesee River corridor.


City of Rochester DOS map.PNG
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