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City Hallways (June 23) Fruit Belt residents want say in neighborhood development

Life-long Fruit Belt resident Deborah Scott says neigbhorhood residents should be the ones controlling how the hundreds of vacant city-owned lots in the Fruit Belt are developed.

Neighborhood in transition

Buffalo's Fruit Belt is becoming a real-life laboratory of sorts, as a neighborhood with many low-income residents hits up against the expanding Medical Campus.

The city is moving forward with a residential parking program in the Fruit Belt with the state's permission. That's expected to take a month or two to get operational.  The city needs to create new signs and also develop what I heard could be a sticker system to identify residential vehicles.

While that program addresses the parking shortage created by Medical Campus workers parking in the Fruit Belt, the bigger issue confronting the neighborhood is the potential for gentrification -- will future development anticipated on these streets increase real estate values to the point that long-time Fruit Belt residents are forced out of their homes?

The Community First Alliance -- working with such groups as the Partnership for the Public Good and Open Buffalo -- thinks the city should address that issue by working with Fruit Belt residents to create a community land trust to control how some 200 city-owned lands are developed. About 50 Fruit Belt residents attended a barbecue/rally Wednesday endorsing the idea.

“We as a community want, and should have, 100 percent community control over the city-owned lots,” said Deborah Scott, a fifth-generation Fruit Belt resident.

The city, meanwhile, has a moratorium in place on the sale of city-owned Fruit Belt land until it develops a strategic plan for the Fruit Belt neighborhood.

Official word on BMHA commissioner race
Following a recount, some numbers changed, but the results remain the same.

Kenfield-Langfield tenants Leonard Williams and Robin Edwards were the top vote-getters in last Tuesday's polling, so they'll be filling the two tenant-elected commissioner posts for the next two years.

Williams got 179 votes, while Edwards got 152. Rebecca Soto, who requested the recount, got 145.

Here are results for the other candidates: Renato Graham got 123 votes, Rudolphus Boans got 102, and Dennis Waite got 67.

Neighborhood News
Planning Board agenda for Monday's meeting is out.

Here are a few items coming before the board:

  • Convert former firehouse into offices, 275 Kehr St.
  • Construct truck sale and service center, 837 Bailey Ave.
  • Restaurant with outdoor patio, 502 Elmwood Ave.
  • Establish restaurant, 2022 Genesee St.
  • Establish tavern with sidewalk cafe, 1318 Hertel Ave.
  • Establish bar/beach club, 399 Ohio St.

Today's calendar events
Food Truck Thursday in Niagara Square
Preservation Board meets this afternoon

In today's Buffalo News and on, I have a story on the Common  Council moving to subpoena an out-of-town investor to find out what he plans to do with the run-down former church building he owns.

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