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Lawmakers approve Buffalo's Green Code


Development in Buffalo is about to have new rules, ranging from how many parking spaces are required for apartments to how tall buildings can be. The changes follow Tuesday's approval of the city's new Green Code by the Common Council.


Even Brendan Mehaffy admits the new Green Code has taken much longer than expected, from when its start was announced in April of 2010. Still, the executive director of the Mayor's Office of Strategic Planning was smiling broadly Tuesday as the code finally met the approval of the Common Council.

"This is a process, again, years in the making, open and transparent, where there is a substantial record to support each of the decisions and each of the aspects of this document," said Mehaffy, who addressed the possibility the code could face a legal challenge.

"I think it's not uncommon at all that somebody will object to a particular aspect of the document. But, it will be a big lift because, again, the citizens were engaged so much."

It's taken almost seven years for the code to be put together, including 242 public meetings to allow residents to voice their views. That led to some major changes, including the new three-story height limit.

"This is a comprehensive re-write of the city's zoning code, the first major rewrite in 63 years," said Mayor Byron Brown, who was on hand for the session.

"It hasn't happened since 1953 and this is the development DNA of the City of Buffalo."

Brown is now slated to sign the Green Code into law next Tuesday, to take effect 45 days later.

"Buffalo is about to step into its own, through this code," lauded Council President Darius Pridgen.

"The last code was made to make Buffalo look like the suburbs. Now, Buffalo is going to look like Buffalo. And, I think that's what we can celebrate all together."

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.