City ignores Green Code for Queen City Landing
Buffalo has spent well over a million dollars preparing the Green Code as part of its comprehensive development framework. The Common Council has reviewed the draft environmental impact statement for the Green Code and held a public meeting to determine its impact as required by the State Environmental Quality Review Act. The “selling point” of this new form-based zoning code is that it will be predictable; the requirements are clear and evenly administered.
Yet now, at the very beginning of this new process, the city, its staff and Planning Board are proceeding with the Queen City Landing tower as if there were no legally mandated processes, as if it only mattered if officials “liked” the 23-story tower. The law is not about preference, but about impact, and this building will have an impact. It will be one of the tallest buildings in the city; it is located on the waterfront of Lake Erie; it is on a brownfield; it is adjacent to critical habitat and in the international Atlantic flyway; and it proposes demolition of a building eligible for the National Register.
Any of the above would require the execution of an EIS to articulate impacts on the surrounding environment. The SEQRA is the city’s tool for assessing impact; it is mandated where impact is clear. Buffalo is, unfortunately, demonstrating that this new code will simply be business as usual. How sad.
Sierra Club Niagara Group