Enforce the Green Code for Elmwood development
The proposed Chason development will lead to radical changes to the fabric and character of Elmwood Avenue, a street that traverses three Council districts, and is in many ways the living heart of Buffalo. Granting the sought-after variances for this project will certainly have an impact on the limits of the Zoning Board of Appeals’ discretion over the entire length of the street, from Niagara to Kenmore. Alarmingly, in his testimony supporting the variances, Councilman Joel Feroletto misstated the law by asserting that the board’s decision on these variances will not have any precedent-setting effect. In fact, the opposite is true.
It is well-established law that, “A decision of an administrative agency which neither adheres to its own prior precedent nor indicates its reasons for reaching a different result on essentially the same facts is arbitrary and capricious.” That means that the decisions on Chason Affinity’s variances will directly impact applications made in support of all future non-Green Code conforming projects on Elmwood.
Once a variance is granted, the character and fabric of the neighborhood will be altered. A developer can argue that must be allowed because the proposed structure would now fit in the “new” normal for the neighborhood.
As a citizen of Buffalo who participated in many meetings over the course of the years that the Green Code was in development, I feel a personal connection to the result, which represents what orderly, managed development in our city should be. We should be proud of this achievement. Laws are only as good as their enforcement, and before we are even six months into the life of the Green Code, it is being eroded. We shouldn’t let this happen.
William C. Altreuter