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City planners approve Shoreline Apartments site plan

The Buffalo Planning Board Monday voted to approve a site plan for the next phase of redevelopment at the Shoreline Apartments on Niagara Street.

For the benefit of the 10 or so residents who attended the meeting, the board stressed that its vote was solely limited to the project’s design specifications and had nothing to do with the relocation process,

“This has nothing to do with the relocation process. They’re two separate issues,” said board member Cynthia Schwartz. “Even if we approve these plans, nothing is going to happen until the other issue is resolved.”

The board approved Norstar’s Development’s latest site plan, which addressed issues with lighting, landscaping and sidewalk curbs.

Norstar said it is waiting to hear from the New York State Department of Housing and Community Renewal to hear whether its relocation plan has been approved. The NYSDHC is funding the project. It expects to have that decision within about six weeks.

At the root of the relocation project is the displacement of mostly elderly and handicapped tenants. Norstar is tearing down the low-income housing complex, which contains 400 apartments, and building a new complex with 172 fewer units.

The redevelopment is planned for two phases, starting this year, in hopes of securing state funds to help finance the project. When those funds became available, Norstar greatly sped up its development timetable, telling tenants they had to be out by November. The NYSDHC stepped in, however, halting demolition plans from going forward.