Green Code must protect our Great Lakes ecosystem
The proposed Buffalo Green Code is an economic development initiative. Its planning and zoning changes allow massive areas of land on the Outer Harbor for condos and parking, further endangering the sensitive Great Lakes ecosystem and diminishing recreation, health and education potential uses.
Land adjacent to Times Beach Nature Preserve is identified as “urban center.” Terminals A and B and Freezer Queen land are identified as an “urban core” development zone. Lake Erie is a freshwater resource shared with Canada. It is an internationally recognized habitat for birds and water species. The Outer Harbor has become an important recreation area for residents and tourists. Why spoil it?
Federal regulations include guidelines for a Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan (LWRP). The city has wrapped its LWRP inside the proposed Green Code. Enabling already environmentally compromised Outer Harbor land for condos and parking lot construction is not consistent with federal LWRP rules.
New York State is responsible for overseeing appropriate implementation of LWRP adoption and actions. That means Gov. Andrew Cuomo is ultimately responsible for protecting Lake Erie and its habitats. However, it seems the governor is driving development rather than safeguarding the already compromised Outer Harbor and Lake Erie ecosystem. His appointees and surrogates, Empire State Development Corp. and the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp., seem willing to let developer friends work their will on Buffalo’s Outer Harbor.
The Common Council should halt adoption of the Green Code until the mayor’s staff improves it. The Outer Harbor is public land, not a developer’s cookie jar. City residents need to speak out at the next Green Code public hearing on April 2 at Performing Arts High School.