Over vocal objections from some members of the audience, Buffalo's Common Council on Tuesday approved creating a Planned Unit Development (PUD) for the old Women and Children's Hospital site and adjacent areas, allowing developers Sinatra and Company and Ellicott Development to plan the entire complex as one, despite different properties and zoning categories.
While the Green Code allows for such designations, opponents of Elmwood Crossing say the PUD far exceeds the rules because it requires so many variances. The entire project can be planned completely although each individual piece still has to go through the regulatory process.
"I just want everyone to know we are not anti-development," said Undine Bistany, who owns several properties throughout the neighborhood. "We would like some smart development, something that is considerate of what Elmwood Avenue stands for, the ambiance, the culture."
The current price tag for the plan is $120 million.
"We didn't want it to be another Millard Fillmore Hospital where it sits forever," said Council Majority Leader David Rivera, who supports the PUD designation. "We need to develop momentum for the community, for the development team to move this project forward, at this point. I just think we get to develop some momentum going forward."
Rivera points out how each project inside the designation needs approval from the Planning Board which is already looking at conversion of what was a pediatric office into a daycare center.
Opponents believe the project doesn't offer enough green space and involves tearing down significant residences along West Utica.