Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal approved by Common Council

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Buffalo, N.Y. Hotel Proposal Controversy
Recent Developments
Original Story


City Hall in Buffalo, New York.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Buffalo, New York — The city's Common Council met in Council Chambers today with a full agenda. Among the items in the agenda was the Elmwood Village Hotel proposal.

The Elmwood Village Hotel is a proposed hotel by Savarino Construction Services Corporation and is designed by architect Karl Frizlen of the Frizlen Group. It is to be placed on the corner of Elmwood and Forest Avenues in Buffalo and will require the demolition of at least five properties (1109-1121 Elmwood).

During the hour-and-a-half meeting, the Common Council approved the hotel proposal. The entire voting process for the proposal took less than two minutes, and the public was not allowed to speak. The Council voted unanimously in support of the proposal; however, the city's Planning Board must also approve the proposal. The Board will meet on Tuesday, March 28, 2006 at 8:00 a.m. on the 9th floor of City Hall, room 902.

The approval allows for the rezoning of all five properties, including 605 Forest, to a "special development plan," or a C-2 zone.

"There is a 'special development plan' in front of the council, which changes only one thing about the zoning. It allows one permitted use — for just a hotel. The rest of the zoning remains as it is under the current Elmwood Business District zoning. 605 and 607 Forest are not required for the project. They are not part of the footprint for the project. Let me answer this question again. This is on the record, in council: 605 needs to be rezoned in order to facilitate the project because of the sideyard requirement. Anything in C-2 is excluded besides the hotel. So we've taken the C-2 and included the hotel as a permitted use, and excluded everything else, and everything else remains the same," Eva Hassett, Vice President of Savarino Consrtruction, said to Wikinews during a public meeting on March 16, 2006.

Letter of cease and desist, given to Council today.

However, during the same meeting, Pano Georgiadis, owner of 605 Forest and owner of Pano's Restaurant on Elmwood, threatened to "sue" Savarino Construction saying, "If you try to get a variance to change the code, I will sue you. This is my home, number one."

Savarino Construction hopes to break ground this Summer.

Residents and business owners will still fight

Despite the Council's approval, organizers have scheduled another protest that will be held this Saturday, March 25, 2006 at 2:00 p.m. on Forest and Elmwood.

Some citizens are even considering legal action and are considering an "injunction in State Supreme Court," going "pro se, meaning I am going to present the case myself," said Clarence Carnahan, a concerned citizen and local business owner who is opposed to the hotel, to Wikinews.

Carnahan wrote a "notice of cease and desist" which was also presented to the Council at today's meeting.

Patty Morris, co-owner of Don Apparel with Nancy Pollina, said, "We are going to fight the good fight to the bitter end, but we cannot afford it [legal action]. Now it's a legal matter, and it's in the hands of the law, and I know there are some people very interested in hiring a lawyer."

Nancy Pollina says that she is "looking into a defense fund" and is currently talking to lawyers.

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