Rezoning Buffalo

What is the Buffalo Green Code?
In order to stay competitive in a global marketplace, cities are exploring ways to maximize investment in their resources, whether it is capital improvements, education, human investment, or the environment. One way to do this is by using development policy to ensure efficient use of land and resources to create a sustainable and attractive place to live, work, invest, and play. The goal of the Buffalo Green Code is to establish land use and zoning regulations that accommodate appropriate uses and forms, respond to market demands, provide access to goods and services, and reflect a local “sense of place.”

How does the Buffalo Green Code relate to other adopted plans?
The Buffalo Green Code is a critical step in implementing many of the other plans already adopted by the City. The existing zoning ordinance last underwent a comprehensive update in 1951. Since then, local economic conditions, expectations of residents and developers, and knowledge about the impact of development have all changed dramatically. The City has invested significant resources in defining its future through various plans and studies. Central to these is the Buffalo’s Comprehensive Plan, adopted in 2006, and its supporting plans. The Buffalo Green Code will use these documents as a guiding compass for the development of zoning regulations that provide standards for use, site and building design, and sustainability. The full collection of guiding plans can be found in the Document Library portion of this web site.

What is a place-based approach to sustainable zoning?
Traditional zoning focuses on minimizing the impacts of development by regulating its basic characteristics – use, building height, setbacks, and screening and buffering. Until more recently, zoning had not addressed issues of overall building form, character, preferred mix of uses, and relationship to the public realm in creating an attractive street environment. However, people are increasingly looking to urban environments as a setting for living a sustainable lifestyle due to the transportation choice, sense of place, and unique culture they provide. Zoning has evolved to become a tool that helps preserve and enhance these characteristics. The Buffalo Green Code will use a place-based approach to zoning that emphasizes the way development impacts the feel of the street, the quality of the neighborhood, and the overall character of the city.

What impact can zoning have?
The plans already adopted by the City include several goals, projects or recommendations that relate directly to land use and zoning policy. Where possible, the Buffalo Green Code will directly address these objectives through adjustments in development policy. However, many plans include recommendations that go far beyond the scope of land use and zoning. While the Buffalo Green Code may not be able to fully implement these plans, it will to the extent possible provide regulatory mechanisms to support positive change.