For the first time in more than 60 years, the City of Buffalo has updated zoning laws on its books. The new Green Code was been signed into law by Mayor Byron Brown on Tuesday.
The process of updating the city's outdated zoning laws took nearly seven years and included 242 public meetings. Brown says the document represents the best ideas that the city received from its residents.
"It creates more modern development standards and preserves and builds upon Buffalo's strengths as a great 21st century city that can compete, head to head, with any city in this nation," Brown said.
During a brief ceremony in One Seneca Tower where the first meeting on the proposal was held, Council President Darius Pridgen said the "green" part of the code represents growth and caretaking.
"Grass does not stay green just because you plant it. It still needs to be watered. It still needs to be cared for," Pridgen said.
The new zoning law makes it easier to develop mixed-use neighborhoods, encourages preservation and restoration of historic buildings and encourages a wide variety of transportation choices.
Brendan Mehaffy, who leads the Office Strategic Planning, says the new building code is a reflection of the city's historic character.
"What's going to be built in the future is going to fit in well with what we have today. It's going to represent what people love about their neighborhoods and seek to have new developments that look like the developments that are there," Mehaffy said.
Mehaffy says he and his staff attended all 242 public meetings and listened to and read thousands of public comments on the code.
The new law takes effect next month.