Opponents to Outer Harbor tower will appeal State Supreme Court ruling

Sep 26, 2016

Rendering of the proposed 23-story tower at Queen City Landing.
Credit Trautman Associates

Despite a State Supreme Court judge’s ruling, advocates opposing the 23-story tower planned for Buffalo’s Outer Harbor say they’ll continue their fight.

The group that filed a law suit to stop Queen City Landing, LLC from building on the site of the former Freezer Queen factory will take their appeal to the State Appellate Division in Rochester, according to attorney Art Giacalone.

“We’re appealing because we believe the state appellate courts have made it clear that the standard a lead agency must comply with, when it comes to assessing potential environmental impacts, is much higher than the lower court has interpreted it as being,” said Giacalone.

The lead agency referred to is the City of Buffalo’s Planning Board. Giacalone said his group believes the appellate court will find that the Planning Board and Common Council did not ensure that a State Environmental Quality Review was properly conducted.

“If we’re successful at the appellate court, the approval for that 23-story tower will be tossed out by the court, and the sponsor will need to go back and start the proposal and the environmental review process over again,” said Giacalone.

Attorney Art Giacalone
Credit Avery Schneider / WBFO News

Giacalone will have 30 days to file an appeal on behalf of petitioners Margaret Wooster, Jay Burney, Lynda Stephens, and James E. Carr once legal papers are filed finalizing Judge Donna Siwek’s decision.

Demolition on the site is targeted for the coming weeks, but Giacalone said there’s another hurdle in the process.

“My understanding is that they cannot begin to structurally demolish the building until they actually have the permit from the city to proceed with that demolition. And that won’t happen until the city has declared that the asbestos removal process is completed and done properly.”