Zoning Issues in Elmwood Village

January 26, 2013 Updated Jan 26, 2013 at 8:11 PM EDT

By WKBW Admin

January 26, 2013 Updated Jan 26, 2013 at 8:11 PM EDT

A new city zoning code is in the works and that means changes could be on the horizon for various locations, including in the Elmwood Village, and not everyone is happy about that.

It is called the "Green Code," a City of Buffalo zoning ordinance specific to neighborhoods.

"The reflection at the end of the day is this is not the city coming in with a mandate, this is what we're trying to be a reflection of the community and build a consensus," Brendan Mehaffy of the Office of Strategic Planning said.

The proposed code was discussed Saturday morning at a meeting of the Elmwood Village Association, with one of the big concerns being a limit on square footage of businesses.

"That's one of the topics for today, should we have a square foot maximum or should we have a larger square foot maximum or should we keep the same square foot maximum?" Mehaffy added.

"So we're trying to find some input from the community on ways we could tackle the issues we are concerned about, including the big box stores coming in, but still allow for some of these successful businesses that we think are good," Elmwood Village Association Executive Director Carly Battin said.

Current Elmwood guidelines put the cap at 2500 square feet, meaning businesses like Spot Coffee and other large locations are in violation. But if the limit is done away with, it could open the door for massive stores or "big box" retailers, unwanted by residents.

"So it's really about what are peoples real concerns. Is it the size of the buildings or is it things like the big box? And are there ways we can address the concerns without being too limiting on business development?" Battin added.

Some of the other issues of concern in the Elmwood Village include backlit signs and parking.

Using public input, the city is looking to release a public draft of the Green Code by the end of February.

For more information, visit http://www.buffalogreencode.com/