The Council unanimously approved the land disposition agreement between the City of Buffalo and HARBORCenter Development, LLC. for redevelopment of the Webster Block. HARBORCenter, led by the Buffalo Sabres, plans to construct a multi-million dollar complex which will consist of two ice rinks, a parking structure, a premium-brand hotel and ground level restaurant and retail space. During the public meeting portion of the Common Council session, the Buffalo Sabres expressed key points regarding their efforts to obtain community input. In addition, the Sabres obtained an independent review of the traffic pattern impacts of traffic flow within the Webster Block which will be critical to a functional downtown Buffalo. The project has already received approval from other state and local agencies and promises to bring construction and post-construction jobs to the City as well as contribute time for public ice skating and other community-oriented events. The project will break ground on March 1, 2013 and plans to open in stages on September 30, 2014.
The City of Buffalo Business Regulatory Taskforce held its first meeting on Thursday, February 14, 2013. The purpose of the Business Regulatory Taskforce is to conduct a thorough review of all aspects of the City's process for regulating businesses as it relates to the City of Buffalo Charter. Members of the taskforce include all nine Council Members, members from the City of Buffalo Departments of Law and Permit and Inspection Services, United States Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr., and representation from the Erie County District Attorney's Office. The meeting was well attended by a majority of the Council Members, the United States Attorney's Office, Corporation Counsel, and City directors from the Department of Permit and Inspection Services. The Chair of the taskforce, Council Member Bonnie E. Russell, clearly laid the groundwork for the taskforce along with input from Council Member David A. Franczyk. The taskforce felt that great dialogue took place to improve the almost 20 year old ordinance for the City. The taskforce is planning a future meeting to take place within the next several weeks.
The Council approved the management plan for the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor. The Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor is a nationally and internationally recognized neighborhood that serves as the focal point of residents' and visitors' experiences for learning about the City of Buffalo's rich African American history. Approval of the management plan will allow the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor Commission to submit the plan to the New York State Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation for funds needed to support the Corridor. Ellicott District Council Member Darius G. Pridgen hosted two public meetings that provided residents with an overview of the management plan as well as an outline of the vision for the corridor.
The Council adopted a resolution, sponsored by Ellicott District Council Member Darius G. Pridgen, requesting that the City of Buffalo Director of Telecommunications submit an annual report to the Council that includes an analysis of the local cable company's compliance with the requirements of the franchise agreement. The report will also include an analysis of current and prospective activities of telecommunications service providers within the City and an explanation of any legislative or technical development that may impact upon the field of telecommunications and any other communications. The Council would like the report by March 31, 2013.
The Council adopted a resolution, sponsored by Ellicott District Council Member Darius G. Pridgen, showing its support for the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus' ("BNMC") declaration of its campus as a tobacco-free zone. The resolution also creates a steering committee consisting of member institutions of the BNMC and community stakeholders to work with the City of Buffalo Department of Law to research the existing policies of other tobacco-free campuses across the nation and write new rules for the City of Buffalo Charter that adds the BNMC as a geographic zone where tobacco is prohibited.
PERMISSION TO HANG BANNERS
• The Council approved a resolution, by Fillmore District Council Member David A. Franczyk, permitting the Valley Community Center to hang flags along the route of the Old Neighborhood St. Patrick's Day Parade. The flags will be installed on March 1, 2013 and stay up until March 30, 2013.
COUNCIL APPROVES CAPITAL BOND RESOLUTIONS - The Council approved numerous Capital Improvement Program Bond Resolutions in conjunction with the 2013 Capital Improvement Program Budget that was adopted during December 2012. The Council's action will enable the City Comptroller to sell bonds for citywide Capital Improvement Projects approximating more than $21 million for City projects.
The Council approved funding for the following projects:
City of Buffalo Projects
• Purchase Fire Apparatus - $500,000
• Purchase Snow Fighting Apparatus - $900,000
• Allen Street Infrastructure Improvements - $250,000
• Ellicott Street Improvements - $802,500
• Bridge Rehabilitation- Various - $300,000
• Citywide Traffic System Improvements - $200,000
• City Services Building Reconstruction/Renovation - $400,000
• Downtown Ball Park (Coca Cola Field) Improvements - $750,000
• Various Fire Stations Rehabilitation - $400,000
• Hatch Restaurant Additions & Alterations - $1,361,425
• Kleinhans Music Hall Revitalization - $171,200
• Citywide Library Improvements - $347,750
• Major Municipal Buildings Reconstruction - $400,000
• MLK Casino Exterior Renovation - $214,000
• BPD Building Reconstruction - $400,000
• Buffalo Zoo Polar Bear Exhibit - $550,000
• Johnnie B. Wiley Improvements - $250,000
• Citywide Parks Infrastructure Improvements - $1,823,900
• Parks Vehicles and Equipment Purchase - $225,000
• Monument Restoration - $238,610
• Citywide Tree Removals & Plantings - $642,000
• Citywide Demolitions - Emergency Conditions - $3,003,000
• Kenmore Avenue Streetscape Improvements - $192,500
• Infrastructure Improvements- Citywide - $6,450,000
• Citywide Street Lighting - $500,000
SALE OF CITY OWNED PROPERTY--The Council approved transactions relating to the following City owned properties:
• Fillmore District
o Properties on Oberlin and Ruhland Streets were sold to the Polish Community Center of Buffalo, Inc. for $22,000.
• Niagara District
o 189 Hampshire Street was sold to Mr. Joseph Marchese for $3,000.
• University District
o 766 East Amherst Street was sold to the Westminster Foundation for $3,500.
LICENSE AND PERMIT APPROVALS--Upon the recommendation of the Department of Permit & Inspection Services, the Council approved the following license and permit applications:
• Fillmore District
o Permit to Open an Existing Restaurant in Allen Street Special Zoning District
• S. Mucino, owner of the property located at 494 Franklin Street aka 73 Allen Street.
• Niagara District
o Food Store License
• NY Metropolitan Deli, located at 500 Elmwood Avenue (photo)
*BRO side note: It is surprising that this deli was granted approval since the original facade was ripped off over the course of a holiday without procuring any permits or following any design standards (learn more). It appears that at every stage of adding this prefab addition there were no approvals sought by the owner or issued by the City. Then at a later date approvals were granted. This storefront is a disgrace to the street, and as of yet there has been no answer as to why this chain of events was allowed to move forward without a single repercussion.
• University District
o Food Store License
• C & N African Variety Store, located at 3335 Bailey Avenue.
• The Council appointed the following individual to the City of Buffalo Cat Task Force:
o Whitney Kemp
• The Council appointed the following individual to the position of Assistant Legislative Aide II within the Niagara District Common Council Office:
o Noemi Santiago
• The Council approved the appointment of the following individuals to positions within the City of Buffalo Department of Public Works:
o Account Clerk Typist
• Stacy L. Masullo
o Motor Equipment Mechanic
• Gregory Nelson
o Pumping Plant Operator
• Dewitt D. Overton, Jr.
For any questions, concerns, or further information regarding the above, please contact your District Council Member, the Common Council Legislative Staff Office, or the respective City Department.
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BUFFALO COMMON COUNCIL
David A. Franczyk
1315 City Hall
David A. Rivera
President Pro Tempore
1504 City Hall
Richard A. Fontana
1414 City Hall
Michael J. LoCurto
1405 City Hall
Darius G. Pridgen
1408 City Hall
Demone A. Smith
1316-A City Hall
Joseph Golombek, Jr.
1502 City Hall
Christopher P. Scanlon
1401 City Hall
Bonnie E. Russell
1508 City Hall
Common Council Legislative Staff Office
1413 City Hall
James N. Jackson
City of Buffalo Common Council
1413 City Hall
Buffalo, NY 14202