BRENDAN MEHAFFY PROVIDES STATUS ON CITY'S GREEN CODE TO URBAN LAND INSTITUTE'S YOUNG LEADERS GROUP OF WESTERN NEW YORKby Allison Whalen
City of Buffalo's head of strategic planning offered perspective on strategic initiatives to restructure and enhance the downtown development process
BUFFALO, N.Y. - The Urban Land Institute's Young Leaders Group of Western New York (ULI YLG of WNY), a subsidiary of the global nonprofit research and education organization, the Urban Land Institute, hosted a lunch and learn with Brendan Mehaffy, executive director of the City of Buffalo's Office of Strategic Planning, at the Buffalo Niagara Partnership on Thursday, March 29, 2012.
The program detailed the roles and functions of the Office of Strategic Planning, including an analysis of the city's new Green Code (new zoning code and land use plan), and how it will reshape and define future development opportunities. The Green Code is a form-based code that will provide a framework for urban development that respects neighborhood character and will simplify and streamline the development process. When completed, it will replace the current zoning code that was established over 60 years ago.
"This was a great opportunity to provide a deeper understanding of Mayor Brown's numerous initiatives currently underway in the City of Buffalo's Office of Strategic Planning," said Mehaffy. "There is a lot going on and we value the opportunity to communicate with the development community directly about these initiatives. This enables the Mayor's Office of Strategic Planning to better work together with the development community, to build on the Mayor's recent successes, and to capitalize on new opportunities that might be presented for Buffalo."
Mehaffy also detailed new downtown development initiatives stemming from the year-long Buffalo Building Reuse Project (BBRP). These initiatives include new public/private resources and the newly established mission of the Buffalo Urban Development Corporation (BUDC) to administer those resources and facilitate downtown development.
"It was great to hear from Brendan today. I'm encouraged by the City of Buffalo's efforts to modernize its zoning and land use plan into a sustainable blueprint," said Carl J. Montante, Jr., vice president of marketing and strategic initiatives for Uniland Development Company. "As a developer, we've experienced the challenges that an outdated zoning code can impose on projects, and together with the City we've overcome those challenges. These changes will significantly improve the process, which will only benefit all of us as we work toward attracting new investment and jobs to the urban core."
Mehaffy, appointed as the Executive Director in March 2010, was formerly an attorney for the City of Buffalo's Law Department where he worked on environment land-use issues, real estate transactions, and litigation. He has been the city's point person on several high profile projects including negotiating with the county on the return of the operation and management of city parks. Prior to working for the city, Mehaffy worked in private practice with a focus on land use, environmental and small business development issues.
The Young Leaders of Group of Western New York recently hosted a presentation and tour of the redevelopment of the historic Electric Tower. Tom Yotts of Preservation Studios, and Paul Iskalo of Iskalo Development, presented on the different components of the redevelopment including architecture, historic preservation, finance, construction and development. Following the presentation, guests received a personalized tour of the Electric Tower including the first and second floor lobby, the historic seventh floor, and several of the uniquely designed "tower" floors. The Electric Tower is home to Buffalo's Annual New Year's Eve Ball Drop and one of the most recognizable buildings in the Buffalo skyline.
About the Urban Land Institute
The Urban Land Institute (www.uli.org) is a global nonprofit education and research institute supported by its members. Its mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the Institute has nearly 30,000 members representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines.
About the Young Leaders Group of Western New York
Founded in 2011, the Young Leaders Group of Western New York (http://newyork.uli.org) has a number of members who enjoy events throughout the year designed specifically for them and by them, in addition to those offered by the New York District Council. The Young Leaders Group includes a diverse group of real estate professionals and students, including architects, engineers, financial analysts, city planners, and lawyers. The Young Leaders Group strives to create a unique setting in which tomorrow's Western New York industry leaders may interact, both professionally and socially, with today's industry leaders and each other.
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