Planning the Future of Buffalo's Outer Harbor Waterfront

A plan to revitalize Buffalo's Outer Harbor as an expansive, fully programmed park was sunk by a housing component. A new draft is expected soon.

2 minute read

August 26, 2015, 7:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Mark Sommer reports on the process of planning a new future for Buffalo's Outer Harbor. A previous planning process for the "526 acres of nature on a windy Lake Erie" culminated in September 2014 as a vision of pedestrian and bike paths, hiking trails, shoreline enhancements, boat launches, a gazebo, a playground, overlooks, and amphitheater, and a waterfront promenade, among other amenities and facilities.

But, Sommer reports, "adding housing and cultural development – the icing on the cake to some waterfront planners – proved to be a flash point. Opposition from the public and key lawmakers forced the plan back to the drawing board."

The proposal called for three clusters of housing, totaling between 1,500 and 2,100 units, which would help pay for the park that would make up most of the area. "But the idea of dense housing on the Outer Harbor scored poorly with the hundreds of people who participated in planning exercises," reports Sommer. "That included opposition to housing planned on land east of Times Beach, from where the Queen City Bike Ferry now arrives and departs, and Wilkeson Pointe. The waterfront agency said a study showed the preserve wouldn’t be harmed. Environmentalists disagreed."

The rest of the article goes on to examine other models that might influence the next draft of the plan, including the improvements made at the Milwaukee waterfront as well as standards set by the Green Code, expected for adoption by the Buffalo Common Council later this year.

Thursday, August 20, 2015 in The Buffalo News

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