Council panel OKs St. Ann’s as landmark, demolition of Erie Freight House - The Buffalo News

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Council panel OKs St. Ann’s as landmark, demolition of Erie Freight House

A Common Council committee Wednesday voted to designate an iconic East Side church as a city landmark and then allowed a developer to move ahead with demolition of a different city landmark on Ohio Street.

The full nine-member Council is expected to approve both measures Tuesday, after they passed, 7-0, in Wednesday’s Legislation Committee meeting.

The landmark designation for the former St. Ann Catholic Church building will give it an extra measure of protection against demolition.

The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo has objected to the landmark designation, but none of its representatives attended Wednesday’s public hearing.

The diocese has changed the locks on the church and has said that it will no longer be used as a worship space, but many dedicated parishioners attended Wednesday’s meeting in support of the church.

Fillmore Council Member David A. Franczyk said that the best-case scenario for the building would be to maintain it as a parish but that the decision would be up to the Vatican.

Meanwhile, the Erie Freight House, which has incurred water damage that has caused holes in the roof and left it in an unstable condition, will likely be able to be torn down by Savarino Cos., following a vote by the Legislation Committee on Tuesday.

Savarino plans to build waterfront apartments and office space on the site, which is along the Buffalo River at 441 Ohio St.

The Preservation Board had denied Savarino’s request, and the company appealed to the Council.

“To the untrained eye, it’s seen as in a very advanced state of decay,” said Franczyk, who toured the building and considers himself a preservationist.

The committee also heard from advocates of public financing of campaigns representing six organizations, who urged lawmakers to adopt a system that would encourage small donations from city residents through a matching program.

Susan Lerner, of Common Cause New York, described the success of New York City’s program, which matches $6 in public funds for each $1 raised from city residents.

She said more constituents get involved in city races than they do in State Legislature races because of public financing, according to donor data that is mapped across Census districts.

North Council Member Joseph Golombek Jr. is supporting a resolution to explore public financing, but he has not provided details.

In other City Hall action Tuesday, the Planning Board approved:

• The site plan for a new Tim Hortons Cafe & Bake Shop and Cold Stone Creamery on Delaware Avenue near Allen Street.

• Plans for a new Arctic Edge exhibit at the Buffalo Zoo, which will house polar bears.

• Plans for reuse of the former Architectural Circus building at 885 Niagara St. as 52 units of affordable housing.

• Plans by D’Youville College for new athletic fields at 604 Fourth St.

• Plans to demolish some units at Shoreline Apartments, 270 Niagara St., and replace them with newer buildings.

In addition, the Planning Board heard a proposal for a new two-family house at Norwood Avenue and West Ferry Street,.

The board told planners of the project to revise the specifications so the house will face West Ferry rather than Norwood.


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