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Opponents of Queen City Landing win round in court

Opponents of the proposed 23-story Queen City Landing on Lake Erie won a victory in state Supreme Court, with Justice Catherine Nugent Panepinto allowing their case against the project to continue.

Four local residents who brought the lawsuit – Margaret Wooster, Clayton S. “Jay” Burney Jr., Lynda K. Stephens and James E. Carr – challenged the Buffalo Planning Board's conditional approval of developer Gerald Buchheit's request to subdivide into two parcels the property where Queen City Landing would be built, as well as an amended site plan.

"The significance is, we're finally moving the case again," said Arthur J. Giacalone, an attorney representing the four residents in the case.

Opponents have wrangled with Buchheit over his plans to redevelop the former Freezer Queen site. Buchheit wants to develop a project with a combination of apartments, two restaurants, a pool and fitness center and a three-story parking ramp.

"The approvals for this once-in-a-lifetime project were upheld by the court in the opponents' first lawsuit," said Phil Pantano, a project spokesman. "We will work with the court on this latest attempt to stagnate development on the Outer Harbor."

Queen City Landing claimed a court victory last May, when the Appellate Division of the Fourth Judicial Department upheld a prior court decision in favor of the developer and the City of Buffalo. In that instance, the opponents had sought to overturn approvals for the project granted by the Buffalo Planning Board and Buffalo Common Council.

In June, the state Department of Environmental Conservation imposed a $50,000 fine on Queen City Landing. The consent order cited the project for paint debris potentially mixed with construction and demolition debris at the site, as well as over a section of concrete wall that fell into the lake during demolition in November 2016.

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