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COUNCIL OVERRIDES GRIFFIN'S WATERFRONT VETO; LAWMAKERS ADOPT DEVELOPMENT PLAN THAT EMPHASIZES PUBLIC ACCESS

The Common Council put in place Wednesday the city's blueprint for developing its waterfront.

The Council overrode Mayor Griffin's veto of its master plan and thus laid the groundwork for waterfront development that stresses public access.

Griffin's rationale for vetoing the Council plan was "an insult to the intelligence of anyone who has done any work on this subject," said South Council Member Brian Higgins, who along with Majority Leader Eugene Fahey was primarily responsible for developing the plan.

Few of his colleagues apparently disagreed. The Council voted 10 to 2 to override the veto. Only Council President George Arthur and Delaware Council Member Alfred Coppola sided with the mayor.

The plan establishes new zoning designations that call for a 90-acre park on the outer harbor and a series of paths that would improve access to the waterfront from all parts of the city. The plan also calls for the development of low-density housing and the expansion of South Park and Riverside Park.

It differs from separate plans advanced by the mayor and the Horizons Waterfront Commission that place greater emphasis on commercial and industrial uses. Unlike the others, the Council's version has the force of law, and Higgins went so far as to term the Horizons Commission plan "totally irrelevant." He added, however, that he hopes the commission will use the city's plan as a basis for modifying at least the city portion of their proposed land-use plan.

In other action, the Council:

Approved an agreement with Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. that requires the company to close its PCBs storage facility on Dewey Avenue within two years. The settlement ends a controversy involving the storage of cancer-causing chemicals in a residential neighborhood.

Approved the sale of lots that will be used to build 18 subsidized single-family homes in the Masten District. Fahey, who voted against the sales, complained afterwards that the city is continuing to select developers for the projects without a competitive process.

Sent to committee a resolution by Masten Council Member David Collins that calls for a ban in the city on the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products through vending machines.

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