The new zoning code,* or Buffalo GreenCode, will be a Unified Development Ordinance, which combines zoning, subdivision, and public realm standards into a single regulatory document. In essence, it is creating a user-friendly guide to developing high-quality, modern infrastructure in Buffalo.
GO Bike, GreenCode…what’s the connection?
GO Bike Buffalo is working on promoting bicycling and creating safer streets for cyclists. We’re part of GO Buffalo, which encourages walking, biking, carpooling/CarShare and public transit use in addition to (or instead of) driving alone. The Green Code will help city planners and engineers to design and build modern Complete Streets that work for everyone.
What will the new code achieve?
» helping citizens drive fewer miles, use less energy, and improve environmental quality.
» supporting walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods;
» strengthening economic centers across the city;
» protecting and enhancing Buffalo’s historic character;
» removing barriers to the creative reuse of vacant land and structures;
Why is a new code necessary?
When Buffalo adopted its zoning code in 1953, Dwight Eisenhower was settling into the Oval Office, the first color television set was sold by Admiral, the Chevrolet Corvette was introduced at the GM Motorama, and Elvis Presley made his first recording at Sun Studio in Memphis.
To say the least, much has changed since 1953. The zoning ordinance is antiquated, addressing such archaic uses as livery stables, asbestos factories, and coal pockets, tipples, and trestles. It is out of sync with today’s development practices and lifestyle trends.
In the six decades since its adoption, the code has been amended and overlaid dozens of times. It now has 12 base zoning districts, 20 overlay districts, and 46 urban renewal plans each with its own set of development regulations. This makes the code difficult to use, interpret, and enforce.
A new UDO will allow citizens to rethink the role these regulations play in the city’s physical development. With the public’s input, this new approach to zoning can finally align regulations with the community’s goals.
Following the June 4-9 Open Houses, the city and its consultant will spend the next two months developing a complete draft of the new zoning code and will host “Zoning Day in Buffalo” in September, 2012, for which the date, time and location will be announced when finalized.
*Writing a new zoning code is the second phase of the development of Buffalo’s Green Code, a program that will guide future development of the city’s neighborhoods, downtown, business districts, shopping districts and employment centers.
The first phase of the Green Code was to develop a Land Use Plan, based on citizen input at citywide workshops that were conducted throughout 2011 and 2012. More than 2,500 citizens have attended and participated in the planning process to-date.