The Buffalo Planning Board on Monday approved a one-story clubhouse for the Monarch 716 student housing complex next to Buffalo State College. The approval is retroactive, as the Board had approved a two-story building, the developer built one story and city inspectors did not stop the work.
There was some dispute in City Hall about what happened, but it was eventually sorted out.
The developer, Buffalo State Ventures LLC, decided it did not need both floors of a 16,000-square-foot clubhouse and told city officials it was only going to build one story to improve functionality and save money - and that is what it did.
Apparently the developer cannot use recreational facilities in the building without a certificate of occupancy and the city will not issue that without Planning Board retroactive approval. Lawyer Corey Auerbach requested the change "hat in hand."
"As part of the development process, the developer, in conjunction with his design professionals, elected to downsize the clubhouse portion of the building, which I know is interior to the site, surrounding by these student housing buildings on the exterior," said Auerbach. "This was approved by this body with a notation on the site plan indicating two-story clubhouse."
There really was not much objection from Board members, except Cynthia Schwartz.
"This was a detailed application," Schwartz said. "I think we make it abundantly clear to applicants that what we approve is what we expect to be built."
Board Member Horace Gioia also said construction was not completely properly. Auerbach agreed.
"This was not done properly, so I admit that at the front," Auerbach said. "But this is not the case of simply doing something without any city involvement - and what I mean is that we did submit revised construction drawings to the city and inspections were done throughout the process by the permit office. The part that that was missed was coming before this body and having the change authorized."
In the end, the Planning Board approved the one-story building, making it eligible for that certificate of occupancy and use by students renting in the private dorm complex. Students will soon be able to use its bowling alleys and lounge area.