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Buffalo Planning Board OKs Green Code

The Buffalo Planning Board on Monday night gave its formal backing to the city's proposed new Green Code, advancing the first rewrite of Buffalo's land-use and zoning regulations in over 60 years.

The unanimous action sends the 322-page document back to the Common Council, where it is being considered for final approval before it can take effect 45 days later as the city's new development blueprint. A few issues are still under discussion among lawmakers, but final passage is expected by the end of the year, after months of reviews, comments and over 230 public hearings that already led to changes.

Six years in the making, the Green Code – formally the Unified Development Ordinance – is designed to overhaul the rules and guidance for development, renovation and other project affecting more than 94,000 properties in 24 neighborhoods, districts and corridors. The new form-based code aims to modernize and simplify the rules, focusing more on use of properties while directing development in certain areas and providing more clarity for property owners and developers.

Work began in April 2010, building on the city's 2006 comprehensive plan and prioritizing accessible and walkable neighborhoods, mixed-use developments, environmental sustainability, historic character and mass transit.

Upon approval, it will mark the first comprehensive changes to the city code since 1953 and the first changes to land-use planning since 1977.

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