Don White and Tom Sand learned it pays for developers to meet with the neighbors – a lot.
The partners behind Whitesand Family LP won approval from the Buffalo Planning Board Monday for a mixed-use apartment and retail building on Elmwood Avenue, with 26 market-rate apartments and three first-floor commercial storefronts.
That's despite being four stories in height, on a site where three existing homes would be demolished and the lots combined – and on the same block where Ciminelli Real Estate Corp. gave up on its own earlier development proposal in the face of intense neighborhood opposition.
Whitesand held nine community meetings and a host of private meetings since the start of the year, listening to neighbor feedback, giving out an email address to solicit more reactions and responding to comments they received.
The result: instead of a parade of opponents lining up to speak at Monday's hearing, not a single person, aside from the development team, spoke.
The developer received two variances from the Zoning Board of Appeals in April and needs only a review from the Preservation Board.