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Despite concerns, Green Code moves toward approval

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Mike Desmond/WBFO News
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The Common Council's Legislation Committee approved the latest version of the Green Code Tuesday and sent it for full Council approval on Tuesday. The matter moved through committee though several speakers raised concerns over a variety of issues.

"We want the same thing that they want on Elmwood," offered Will Yelden during the public comment portion of Tuesday's meeting in Council Chambers.

"We want walking neighborhoods. We want to be put first. We want to have stores and shops where our youth can walk in and get a job."

Several speakers argued that the Council needs to change the plan to require more affordable housing in the city through what's called "inclusionary zoning." 

Council members say that will happen next year, once the Brown Administration makes some recommendations in February. 

Some in attendance remained skeptical that the Green Code will cure all ills.

"The price that I'm paying for rent now you would actually think I was living in Amherst. Come-on now, really. I live off Delavan," said Brenda Herndon.

"My income is not enough to even live in Buffalo any more, so I will be looking to leave Buffalo and I don't want to. I was born and raised here. But, those are my options."

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Credit WBFO's Mike Desmond
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The proposed Green Code drew a large crowd to Tuesday's meeting of the Legislation Committee.

Another provision that is drawing considerable debate is limiting new builds to just three stories.  The plan would likely face a lawsuit. 

There are buildings in the works which are substantially higher which are working through the system before the Green Code restrictions kick in.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.