City Hall should not allow developers to go unchecked
Buffalo has had a rich and generous endowment of architecture and institutions bequeathed to it from its founding fathers. This spirit of generosity and richness of lifestyle they left in place for its inhabitants have all too often been underappreciated, as is evident in the many demolitions of the 1970s.
One of these endowments was the covenant placed on the parcel of land for the Chason Affinity 1111 Elmwood Avenue project by Erastus Granger, cousin of the postmaster general under President Thomas Jefferson.
How the developer was able to inspire a State Supreme Court justice to dismantle this covenant of 1892 is still under scrutiny by the neighborhood it includes. Granger’s covenant was expressly never to be lifted, so as to ensure the feel and the rhythm of this parkside community.
I believe this maneuver by the developer sheds light on the unfair advantages that the city’s courts and boards have over the citizens who try to protect these city treasures.
The Planning and Zoning Boards are unique in that they are not beholden to any laws as they decide the fate of an endangered neighborhood – like the corner of Elmwood and Forest. They ignore historic preservation recommendations, Green Code laws and state experts, while continuously siding with developers.
These boards are an unchecked detriment to the way laws are upheld. I believe a way of checking power is long overdue at City Hall.