“I was honored this past year when Sam Magavern, as Executive Director of Partnership for the Public Good, asked me if I would be interested in writing a handbook to assist Western New York residents better understand land use and zoning laws, and more effectively express their concerns about proposed projects or changes in land use laws. When Sam approached me, I was well aware of how tirelessly PPG has worked to provide research and advocacy support to community groups and advocates to improve the quality of life and ensure justice throughout the Buffalo Niagara region.
I had some reservations (as I’ll address in a minute), but I took on the task, and PPG published the finished product earlier this week, entitled, “Land Use and Zoning Law: A Citizen’s Guide.” [You can also find the handbook here: environment-_land_use_and_zoning_law_a_citizens_guide ]
Although PPG generously attributes the writing of the guide to me, it was, in fact, a team effort. The final version reflects the evenhandedness and editorial insight of Sam Magavern, as well as the “historic preservation” expertise of Jessie Fisher, Executive Director of Preservation Buffalo Niagara. My sincere thanks to both.
Regarding my reservations, I realized that it would a struggle for me to overcome my skepticism of the zoning and land use process while organizing and drafting the handbook. As I wrote in a July 2018 post following announcement of the Buffalo Billion-related conviction:
“Zoning, land use and construction decisions are made at what I view as the intersection of politics and greed. It’s an unattractive and discouraging place to be if you believe that citizens deserve both an open and fair process, and government officials who truly strive to function lawfully and in a manner intended to benefit society as a whole.”
Sophisticated and politically-connected developers, emboldened by their lawyers, have learned to work in concert with compliant government officials to circumvent and maneuver through zoning laws and SEQRA requirements. The only way to reverse this tidal wave will be through persistent vigilance and hard work on the part of residents and community advocates.”
read the entire article
Giacalone, Art. With All Due Respect Blog 22 December 2018.