What exactly is a zoning code?
A zoning code is a document containing rules that guide and direct the use of structures and land, and the form and location of structures in a manner that carries out the policies of a city’s Comprehensive Plan. It determines whether the design and use of neighboring buildings complement each other or conflict with each other. It determines whether the places that people live, work and play are clustered together or separated from each other. It determines the process through which change occurs and whether these changes happen in a manner equally transparent and predictable for the developers of land and residents of the neighborhoods in which they develop.
What difference can a zoning code make?
A new zoning code is essential to conserving the best of what we have while creating opportunities to grow our economy. One way to achieve this is to ensure that people who want to invest in our community know where they can locate, what the rules are, and that those rules are consistently and predictably applied.
Why change the rules now?
Zoning in Buffalo today, like many cities, is a patchwork of rules that, while well intended when written in 1951, are not well suited to maintaining desired types of existing development and redevelopment. There is often a disconnect between what people want to build and what can be built. This is, in part, because our present code was designed to encourage a rather uniform pattern of development. Many of its districts contain regulations that do not fit the development that presently exists or is desired. While it has undergone substantial amendment to improve that fit, these changes have made the code very complex, confusing, and hard to use. Many of the requirements remain vague and need clarification, and it still fails to accommodate certain traditional forms of development found in our older neighborhoods.
What are the goals of the Buffalo Green Code?
The Buffalo Green Code will implement smart growth standards that enhance the quality of life for city residents.
The Buffalo Green Code will encourage environmental and economic sustainability by encouraging more efficient use of energy and natural resources, minimizing the impact of human land uses, and promoting compatibility with local climate and environmental systems.
The Buffalo Green Code will be a tool to implement a place-based economic development strategy.
The Buffalo Green Code will provide a transparent and predictable process for development.