The Campaign for Greater Buffalo successfully filed an
Article 78 today, which placed a temporary restraining order on the demolition
of the Bethlehem Steel Administration Building. This petition argues that the
City of Lackawanna issued the demolition permit to Gateway Trade Center without
performing environmental review as required by the NYS Environmental Quality
Review Act (SEQR).
|Rear of the Admin Building, before the Chemistry Building Demo (Image courtesy of David Torke, fixBuffalo)|
As a result, the demolition permit issued was done so
illegally and is therefore null and void. The Campaign is seeking a permanent
injunction on the demolition of the building until full compliance with SEQR is
demonstrated. A hearing is scheduled before Hon. James H. Dillon for Wednesday,
February 27th at 9:30 a.m.
|Rear of the Admin Building, after the Chemistry Building Demo (Image courtesy of David Torke, fixBuffalo)|
"SEQR mandates all agencies of government to prepare an
'Environmental Impact Statement on any action they propose or approve which may
have a significant effect on the environment.' Even actions which do not
require a full Impact Statement, still require careful environmental review and
findings," says Richard Berger, Esq., a local attorney representing The
Campaign, "It appears that none was carried out in this instance. We hope that
our filing today will halt the demolition of the Administration Building and
lead to its ultimate restoration and reuse."
"The City and Gateway should make every attempt to honor
workers who spent much of their lives at Bethlehem Steel. Instead, they're
doing all they can to destroy our heritage, and with it the potential that 'Old
North' has to create jobs and bring people to the shore of Lake Erie. I for one
am relieved that there is an engaged group of citizens continuing to fight for
justice, and I am proud to stand with them," said Romaine Lillis, Lackawanna
resident and longtime member of the Lackawanna Historical Society.
|Signed Order from the Judge|
There is an open lawsuit filed by Lackawanna Industrial Heritage
Group (LIHG), heard on February 13, 2013 in Lackawanna City Court, regarding
the discovery of a previously withheld structural engineering report concluding
that the building is structurally sound and of no immediate danger of collapse,
as the City of Lackawanna contends. Hon. Judge Marrano reserved judgment in the
case but a verdict is expected soon.
LIHG has stated that they will cooperate with The Campaign
for Greater Buffalo in any way needed.
Entry Image: Gerry Zephyr