Common Council 'correcting' Buffalo's Green Code

Dec 6, 2017

Some Buffalo Common Councilmembers say they are trying to clean up mistakes in the city's new Green Code, thousands of pages of minutiae about neighborhoods, almost down to every house.

Buffalo's Green Code is already being changed by the city's Zoning Board of Appeals, which has approved a number of waivers to the rules for projects, like the building planned for Hertel and Parkside avenues. The Board allowed it to be higher and larger than the code allows.

On Tuesday, the issue was changing the zoning for 15-80 to 16-40 Bailey Avenue. Restaurateur James "Macky" Moberly wanted a change to allow his business.

"I own 1634 Bailey, which when I bought it, it was zoned C-4 and somehow got mixed up with the Green Code into single family," Moberly said, "and I'm trying to put a catering kitchen in there to do, like wrap-up catering."

Moberly currently owns the Essex Pub. When he tried to buy a closed bar, Moberly found the section between Pullman Avenue and Broadway was listed as completely residential, but it is actually a mix of residential and commercial.

That is Councilmember David Franczyk's Fillmore district. Franczyk said he backs the change from N-4-30 single family to N-3E mixed-use edge.

"My recommendation on this is to approve this," he said. "I understand a mirrored item is going to come, be filed before us for next Tuesday's Council meeting. We can approve that as well. So you can be back in business."

To avoid residents being billed for changing the zoning, Franczyk said he will put it into the legal process as a Council action. However, Councilmember Chris Scanlon, who is working with Franczyk on a similar situation in South Buffalo, said it is a little complicated to avoid billing residents for the change to clean up an apparent mistake.

"This has come up in my district, as well. I know we kind of follow the same process, your office and my office," Scanlon said. "What we did in order to avoid any fees or any discrepancies there is my office - and I believe your office as well - filed the application, as well. So we're handling it as a legislative action, if you look at it that way."

It is these kinds of glitches in the code the Council is trying to resolve.