(WKBW release) The following is the summary of the April 3 meeting of the City of Buffalo Common Council.
SUPPORT FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF A CHILDREN’S MUSEUM EXPERIENCE AT CANALSIDE – The Council adopted a resolution sponsored by Council President and Lovejoy District Council Member Richard A. Fontana and Ellicott District Council Member Darius G. Pridgen applauding the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (“ECHDC”) for the inclusion of a children’s museum experience in their plans for the City of Buffalo’s waterfront within Canalside.
The Canalside Project, a major component of the redevelopment of the City’s waterfront, offers an unparalleled opportunity to create a truly vibrant, mixed-use, urban entertainment destination. Over $50 million of federal and state funds have already been spent on infrastructure work, public amenities and programming to draw residents and visitors to the area. Recently, a master plan completed by Lord Cultural Resources and Ralph Applebaum Associates recommended a children’s museum experience as the top priority for Canalside.
A children’s museum would have year-round and weekend appeal for families, as well as provide complementary opportunities for retail, food service and corporate partnerships. The Council welcomes the inclusion of local businesses and established cultural entities at Canalside, and encourages ECHDC to continue advancing the cultural review and operator selection process so that a children’s museum experience can become a permanent amenity on the City’s waterfront.
ILLEGALLY PLACED ADVERTISING SIGNS – The Council approved a resolution sponsored by Ellicott District Council Member Darius G. Pridgen stating the Council’s opposition to businesses that advertise unlawfully in the City of Buffalo and directing the City of Buffalo Department of Permit and Inspection Services to take action against any business that unlawfully places signage on City property or otherwise advertises illegally.
Recently, many residents have been complaining about signs being posted throughout the City advertising the sale of furniture. The signs are made to appear handwritten and include information about the merchandise that is for sale as well as a phone number, but do not identify the business that they are associated with. These signs have become visual clutter, are obstructing sidewalks and are not being removed upon being damaged. Furthermore, these signs create a safety hazard for motorists and cyclists when they are found lying in roadways. The Council maintains that the public has the right to use City streets and sidewalks without physical obstruction and without being subjected to unattractive visual clutter. The Common Council supports businesses that advertise, but insists that they do so in accordance with all applicable laws and requirements.
LICENSING FOR BUSINESSES OPERATING OUT OF MOTOR VEHICLES – The Council adopted a resolution sponsored by Ellicott District Council Member Darius G. Pridgen directing the City of Buffalo Corporation Counsel to research legal mechanisms for regulating mobile and/or transient businesses. The resolution proposes that mobile business operators be registered with the City of Buffalo, that they be required to obtain and carry a Mobile Business License and/or Permit, and that they be restricted from occupying public parking spaces for more than the maximum allotted time. The City of Buffalo has seen an increase in the number of businesses being operated from motor vehicles, some of which are operating lawfully and some of which are not.
Mobile businesses that might be covered by the proposed regulations include food trucks, food stands, Christmas tree stands, produce and flower vendors, bail bondsmen, appliance/electronics sales people and clothing merchants. Except for mobile food trucks, the City of Buffalo does not currently issue specific licenses or permits to those who desire to operate a commercial business directly out of their vehicle. The anticipated benefits of legislation to regulate mobile businesses include safeguarding the public from illegal and unscrupulous vendors, freeing up prime parking spaces for residents and visitors that are currently being occupied for entire days by mobile businesses and providing oversight of mobile businesses that are not currently regulated under state or federal law.
MASSACHUSETTS AVENUE SUSTAINABLE NEIGHBORHOODS PROJECT —The Council adopted a resolution sponsored by Niagara District Council Member David A. Rivera recognizing People United for Sustainable Housing (“PUSH”) as the designated developer and site operator of three City-owned properties: 99 Chenango Street, 335 Massachusetts Avenue and 339 Massachusetts Avenue.
The Council supports the mission of PUSH and recognizes the improvements they have made to the City’s West Side as a conscientious housing developer. PUSH is currently in the process of securing funding for its Massachusetts Avenue Sustainable Neighborhoods Project, which will result in the development of 5 units of high-quality, affordable rental housing units on the West Side.
TRAYVON MARTIN INVESTIGATION – The Council adopted a resolution sponsored by Ellicott District Council Member Darius G. Pridgen supporting an aggressive investigation into the circumstances and facts involved in the killing of Trayvon Martin to ensure that justice prevails. On February 26, 2012, Trayvon Martin, a 17 year old high school student, was shot and killed in a gated community in Sanford, Florida. Protests have sprung up across the country, as well as on social media outlets, in response to the incident and on sites like Facebook and Moveon.org almost 1.2 million people have signed an online petition demanding the arrest of the assailant, George Zimmerman.
In addition, organizations like the National Urban League, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (“NAACP”), National Action Network and others have marched in cities nationwide including New York, Chicago, Norfolk, Sanford and, most recently, here in the City of Buffalo. As a diverse law making body composed of Members with various ethnic backgrounds and political affiliations, the Council supports calls for a more complete and thorough investigation into the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
TRAILBLAZING SIGN—The Council approved a resolution sponsored by Majority Leader and Masten District Council Member Demone A. Smith to allow for the installation of trailblazing signs in honor of Grover Sr. and Lillian Washington at 377 Glenwood Avenue. Grover Sr. and Lillian Washington are City of Buffalo residents who have set a positive example for their community through their tireless work ethic and dedication to raising a family of three great musicians and community minded citizens.
WAIVER OF FEES
• The Council approved a resolution sponsored by Council President and Lovejoy District Council Member Richard A. Fontana requesting that the Department of Public Works waive fees for the use of Heacock Park by South Buffalo Alive for its June 3, 2012 “Parade of Circles” event. South Buffalo Alive is a non-profit organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life in South Buffalo. The “Parade of Circles” is a community event that was established in 2001 to celebrate the culmination of the beautification of McKinley Parkway.
• The Council approved a resolution sponsored by Majority Leader and Masten District Council Member Demone A. Smith waiving fees for the use of Martin Luther King, Jr. Park for the Masten District Easter Egg Hunt. The Masten District Easter Egg Hunt is a free community event that will be held on April 7, 2012.
ORDINANCE AMENDMENT—The Council approved an amendment to Chapter 511, Section 68.6 of the Code of the City of Buffalo, sponsored by Ellicott District Council Member Darius G. Pridgen, to establish a new Downtown Entertainment Review District with special zoning guidelines.
As a result, other than on Thursday nights between 10:00 pm and 4:00 am the following Friday morning, taverns that are located within the Downtown Entertainment Review District and licensed by the New York State Liquor Authority to serve alcohol are prohibited from permitting entry to patrons under the age of 21 unless they have first obtained a Restricted Use Permit from the City. The Thursday night exception from the prohibition of co-mingling will expire on October 2, 2012, provided that Chapter 511, Section 68.6 is not amended prior to that date.
• The Council appointed the following individual as a Marriage Officer within the City of Buffalo:
o Tashares Burks
• The Council approved the appointment of the following individuals to positions within various City of Buffalo Departments at a step above the base salary:
o Department of Management Information Systems
• Kathryn Barker
• Janet SanFilippo
o Department of Public Works
• James Legrand
Senior First Class Stationary Engineer
• Michael McCool
o Office of Strategic Planning
Director of Environmental Affairs
• Nadine Marrero
o Department of Parking
• Philip Marino, Jr.
• The Council accepted the appointment of the following individuals to positions within various City of Buffalo Departments at the base salary:
o Department of Public Works
• Joseph Fanara
• Joseph Ziemba
SALE OF CITY OWNED PROPERTY—The Council approved transactions relating to the following City owned properties:
• Masten District
o 858 East Ferry Street (excluding approximately .45 acres, said exclusion being an approximately 25’section along the northeast boundary) was sold to Belmont Housing Resources of WNY for $120,000.
LICENSE AND PERMIT APPROVALS—Upon the recommendation of the Department of Permit & Inspection Services, the Council approved the following license and permit applications:
• Delaware District
o Sidewalk Café License
Jewel of India located at 1264 Hertel Avenue
o Permit to Alter Retail Space to Café w/ Outdoor Café in City Right-of-Way
J. Letizia, owner of the property located at 982 Elmwood Avenue
o Food Store License
7-Eleven located at 2065 Delaware Avenue
7-Eleven located at 281 Parkside Avenue
• Ellicott District
o Permit for Expansion of Sit-in Restaurant
M. Moutaute, owner of the property located at 1832 Main Street
o Permit for a Ground Sign
B. Bernatovicz, agent for the owner of the property located at 1313 Main Street
o Sidewalk Café License
Courtyard Restaurant located at 212 Pearl Street (aka 127 Franklin Street)
• Lovejoy District
o Used Car Dealer License
Grant Vinokur, Inc. located at 1657 Broadway
• North District
o Food Store License
Puerto Rican Bakery & Restaurant located at 212 Forest Avenue
Kwik Stop Mart located at 67 Hertel Avenue
Moon Lite Market located at 983 Tonawanda Street
• South District
o Permit to Add Take-Out Restaurant/Deli to Existing Store
M. Xaseen, owner of the property located at 1560 South Park Avenue
o Sidewalk Café License
Dairy King located at 1953 Seneca Street
• University District
o Food Store License
7-Eleven Inc. located at 3215 Main Street
CLAIMS, CONTRACTS, CHANGE ORDERS & AGREEMENTS
• The Council approved the following contract change orders submitted by the City of Buffalo Department of Public Works (“DPW”):
o The contract with Erdman Anthony and Associates, for the Elmwood Avenue Reconstruction Project, was increased by $45,404 to fund additional design work necessary to update plans to conform to current Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) requirements. The contract was initially awarded in the amount of $870,000 and with this change the contract will increase to $915,404.
o The contract with TVGA Consultants, for the Fruitbelt Development of Carlton Street Project, was increased by $27,500 to fund additional work necessary to design the replacement of an aged 6” water line with a new 8” line. The contract was initially awarded in the amount of $418,812 and with this change the contract will increase to $446,312.
o The contract for the South Buffalo Legacy Complex (“Nevilly Park”) Project was increased by $4,997 to complete Phase 1 of an Archeological Survey requested by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. The contract was initially awarded in the amount of $327,300 and with this change the contract will increase to $328,226.
o The contract for the Erie Basin Marina Boardwalk Electrical Project was increased by $15,000 to bring the electrical feed for the boardwalk from a different location than was originally anticipated in the Marina. The contract was initially awarded in the amount of $26,290 and with this change the contract will increase to $41,290.
• Upon the request of the City of Buffalo Office of Strategic Planning (“OSP”), the Council:
o Authorized OSP to adjust the contracts for consultant work under three New York State Department of State, Step 2 Brownfield Opportunity Area (“BOA”) grants: the Buffalo Harbor, the Buffalo River Corridor and the Tonawanda Street Corridor. After the completion of the first phase of the BOA work, a revised scope of work and budget were prepared that allocates $931,132 to Urban Strategies, Inc. and $306,146 to Camiros, Ltd., for a total consultant budget of $1,237,278. The revised scope of work and budget will allow the project to move forward more effectively, while reducing total project costs by approximately $79,302.
o Authorized the designation of People United for Sustainable Housing (“PUSH”) as the developer of 99 Chenango Street and 335 & 339 Massachusetts Avenue. PUSH is proposing to rehabilitate the single-family house at 99 Chenango and to construct a two-family house on the vacant lots at 335 and 339 Massachusetts. The fair market values of the properties are $5,400 for 99 Chenango and $8,700 for 335 and 339 Massachusetts.
• Upon the request of the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority (“BMHA”), the Council:
o Authorized a wage increase with benefit concessions for the exempt position of Assistant Executive Director to the salary of $93,897. The wage increase is identical to the increases and benefit concessions negotiated for union employees represented by Local 264, White Collar, Blue Collar and Managerial Units.
• Upon the request of the City of Buffalo Department of Public Works (“DPW”), the Council:
o Authorized DPW to hire an engineering consultant to provide design, construction management and inspection services for the Genesee Street Gateway Project in the Ellicott Common Council District. The consultant will be chosen through a Request for Qualifications process.
o Authorized DPW to purchase two Freightliner Chassis for the total amount of $94,949.
• Upon the request of the City of Buffalo Department of Fire, the Council:
o Authorized the Department of Fire to hire an engineering consultant for radio tower inspection work for the City of Buffalo Departments of Fire, Police, and Public Works. Currently, these departments are upgrading their City radio systems to comply with new Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) rules and regulations that are set to take effect on January 1, 2013. This project will replace existing Verizon leased lines with a City-owned microwave network.