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Home > Leadership > Mayor > Archived Press Releases > 2010 Archives > April 2010 > Mayor Brown Announces New City Zoning Initiative

Mayor Brown Announces New City Zoning Initiative

Contact: Peter K. Cutler 

Highlights First Comprehensive Overhaul of City Zoning Code Since 1951

Mayor Byron W. Brown today announced that the City of Buffalo is ready to move forward on the most comprehensive overhaul of the city’s zoning code in fifty-nine years.

“My Administration has begun the process that will lead to a comprehensive rewrite of our zoning code,” said Mayor Brown.  “We conducted an extensive national search and we found the consultant that will bring Buffalo’s zoning code into the 21st Century.  I will ask the Buffalo Common Council to approve the nationally-recognized planning consultant from Chicago, Camiros Ltd. (in partnership with Goody Clancy of Boston), to redo the City Zoning Code. This company has implemented the most current zoning techniques, including form-based codes, in Chicago, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Salt Lake City and Baltimore. The zoning reform effort will act as the foundation for the development of a new place-based economic development strategy for Buffalo’s neighborhoods in every section of the city.” 
The city initiated an RFQ process to which about a dozen firms responded and there was an RFP process that involved four short-listed firms. The partnership of Camiros and Goody Clancy brings together some of the leading expertise on planning and urban design in North America.
“We have tasked Camiros with developing the ‘Buffalo Green Code,’ a new zoning code for Buffalo that embodies 21st century values about economic development, sustainability, and walkable, green urbanism.,” said Brendan Mehaffy, Executive Director of the Office of Strategic Planning. “An ambition for this project is not only to bring good ideas to the city, but to invent the next best practices, to create the precedents that other cities will want to follow. This team brings the expertise the City of Buffalo will need to bring that to fruition.”

Camiros is partnering with the renowned Boston firm Goody Clancy on the comprehensive New Urbanism-oriented zoning rewrites in Baltimore and New Orleans. This award-winning partnership will continue on the Buffalo project. Goody Clancy is one of the leading architecture and urban design firms in the country and has been recognized by 46 national and regional awards for planning and urban design, including six Charter Awards from the Congress for New Urbanism.

“The zoning reform effort will act as the foundation for the development of a new place-based economic development strategy for Buffalo’s neighborhoods,” said Mayor Brown.  “Neighborhood economic development initiatives will no longer be defined by districts and zones represented by a colored lines on a map.  Instead economic development will be centered on the assets that define a sense of place in a neighborhood.  These are the structures and spaces that create an environment where people want to live, work, and visit.”

The new Buffalo zoning ordinance will be known as the Buffalo Green Code; it will embody 21st century values about economic development, sustainability, and walkable, green urbanism.

Buffalo’s walkable neighborhoods, the basis for sustainable build-out of the city over time, will be valued again. The new Buffalo Green Code will help support public transit and reduce dependency on the automobile and help limit carbon emissions. It will make it easier for neighborhoods to develop within a closer proximity to jobs and daily amenities. It will streamline, simplify, and shorten the regulatory process to help Buffalo support new economic development.

“This task will not be easy; it will not be simple,” said Mayor Brown. “It will need the active engagement of the citizens of Buffalo. This is a big project. The new Buffalo Green Code will be the first opportunity Buffalonians have had in nearly sixty years to establish a new regulatory framework for the development of our neighborhoods. Zoning is the tool by which we build our communities. It determines what gets built and where. It is Buffalo’s DNA. The process to re-imagine the city’s future and write a code that matches the community’s vision will be an exciting opportunity for the people of Buffalo. As this process gets rolled out, over a period we expect to take three years of serious work, I invite all citizens to participate and take an active role. We will need your help and we will need your input.”

As stated in his State of the City Address, Mayor Brown will include the implementation of the Better Schools, Better Neighborhoods initiative that has been strongly supported by Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples, which will focus development around East High School and Martin Luther King Jr. Park.