Plans for an outer harbor amphitheater are moving forward despite a lawsuit hoping to block the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) from developing it. The Buffalo Planning Board will be reviewing plans to convert the former Port Terminal B into a music and festival venue where Canalside concerts would relocate to.
The $12 million Terminal project is a component of the Buffalo Outer Harbor General Project Plan approved after six years of planning and public input. From the application to the Planning Board:
The envelope of Terminal B will be removed to create an open are structure, allowing continuous views to the water from the nearby paths and lawn. The steel structure sits on an existing elevated concrete slab that totals 100,000 sf. Stairs and ramps will be added at select locations along the perimeter to provide pedestrian access. At the north end, a small stage with an open air canopy will be added, facing the east. On the east side of Terminal B, the site will be renovated to reduce the amount of hardscape surface, improve site drainage, and increase lawn area.
A crescent shaped lawn will be built to provide a higher elevation for views toward Lake Erie. Native plants will be utilized in the establishment zones and along the edges of the project site. These plants will be selected on the success of previous installations at the Outer Harbor. A pedestrian path will be added to the east of the crescent lawn and connect with the existing paths. Limited site lighting will be added along the pedestrian path.
In June, a lawsuit filed by the League of Women Voters of Buffalo Niagara, 21st Century Park on the Outer Harbor, Sierra Club Niagara Group, and Western New York Environmental Alliance is seeking to block the project.
The trip to the Planning Board is part of a do-over. The City neglected to get written findings from the Planning Board prior to approving a Use Permit for the amphitheater earlier this year as required.
The lawsuit asserts that a thorough environmental review for the project was not conducted and the venue is not consistent with the City’s adopted Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan. The suit is seeking to force a parkland designation for the property which would require State Legislature approval for “non-park” development.