Press Release from Preservation Buffalo Niagara:
Preservation Buffalo Niagara (PBN) is deeply concerned by what appears to be the evasion of the City of Buffalo's long-established historic preservation ordinance with the recent demolition of 273 Main Street. The City's preservation ordinance is like any other law enacted to protect the interests of the larger community. Within the law, the demolition of any building that is in a designated local historic district, such as 273 Main Street, requires mandatory review by the Preservation Board. This procedure is part of the City's Certified Local Government agreement (CLG) with the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and is intended to enable and ensure public awareness and participation in the preservation of our collective historic assets.
The CLG agreement is a written commitment by the municipality to identify, protect and preserve its historic resources. It appears that these matters of public interest were deliberately ignored by the issuing of an emergency demolition permit for 273 Main Street. The law does allow for the immediate demolition of a structure that poses an immediate and imminent threat to public health and safety, but it appears that this was not the case with 273 Main Street. An emergency demolition permit was issued on July 19th of this year but the demolition action was not started until September 4th. Further, during this six week period in between the permit being issued and the commencement of the action, no notice was made to the Preservation Board that would have ensured the required public participation in this matter.
PBN is disturbed that this most recent event is indicative of a pattern that denies public participation as required by the law. Several historic properties, including the Trico Building, being considered for local landmark designation have been denied due diligence. The designation of historic properties as local historic landmarks is a key tool used by the community to guarantee wide participation in the preservation of our historic assets. The circumvention of these fundamental components of the law is troubling and is ultimately a disservice to the citizens of Buffalo.
PBN would be happy to host a meeting with New York State Historic Preservation Office, the Preservation Board, and responsible parties in local government to discuss how to address and remedy this situation.
Entry image by Bernice Radle