Published on August 8th, 2014 | by GrowWNYAdmin0
Comment Now on the Outer Harbor
BY: THE GROWWNY TEAM
August 6 was the second public meeting on the Outer Harbor Redevelopment Project. Hosted by Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) and its chosen design firm, Perkins+Will, this meeting served to collect feedback on three proposed designs for the 190 acres on Buffalo’s Outer Harbor. The meeting began with a review of the feedback collected at last month’s meetings. If you were unable to attend, you can review those materials here.
The three proposed plans will be available for review on the ECHDC website, and there is still time to submit your comments and ratings for each. The deadline for feedback during this stage of the planning process is August 13. Comments and completed scorecards can be sent to OuterHarborinfo@esd.ny.gov.
There is a lot at stake for the future of the Outer Harbor, and it’s important to remember that decisions made about this parcel of land and the ecosystems it houses will affect the entire region. Additionally, while it may not be on the scorecards provided for feedback, or in the project’s guiding principles, ecological sustainability must be considered with every choice. This location has unique biodiversity and is a critical corridor for many plants and wildlife in the area. How do these proposals affect them?
We encourage you to review the proposals and comment. Include your thoughts on what each plan has to offer – what’s good, what’s bad, or vote for none of the above. When you are looking through the materials provided by ECHDC and Perkins+Will, consider these questions:
- Is this appropriate development for the Outer Harbor? (they didn’t give us the figure of square footage of new buildings but they did say ½ of the sq footage would be housing? Who would live in the housing? Who wouldn’t? Should there be any new building out there at all?)
- Is there sufficient protection of wildlife – birds (the area is an internationally recognized Important Bird Area), fish (critical spawning area), mammals?
- Are there really any ‘wildlife corridors’? – areas that connect? Are there interruptions in the corridor that would be impediments to wildlife movement?
- How does this plan relate to the city as a whole? For example, do we need housing on the Outer Harbor or in the city? Should retail be focused in the city and inner harbor area or scattered on the outer harbor?
- Does it really have to be all seasons? Could we use the more protected Inner Harbor in the winter and let nature have its fierce winds and storms on the Outer Harbor? In this alternative vision, there would be many things to do in the summer with lots of forms of transportation including water taxis and ferries. But the area would button up in the winter except for the hardy souls who already use it.
- Is it true public participation when the principles and goals are already established and there is no public participating in setting these goals?