Regional Framework?

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Will someone please explain what this planning process has to do with life here in Buffalo, NY. Here's the link - Regional Framework. Any insight FixBuffalo readers can provide is appreciated. Aside from some general remarks regarding regional population loss, I couldn't find anything substantive regarding issues of local abandonment and vacancy when it comes to commercial and residential property in the City of Buffalo.
Check it out and let me know...thanks.
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thestip said...

Ok, well the Regional Framework is supposed to guide where development in the two counties (Erie and Niagara) should be focused to maximize land-use and to minimize infrastructure expansion. The major problem is that neither county has much "real" power to guide development. In archaic NYS the most local form of govenrment (read: city, town, village) has all control over planning and land-use. At least the county has some say as to where county run infrastructure projects go, i.e. road expansions in the suburbs, sewer line extensions, etc. Of course those are only projects for which the county contributes to, or outright pays for. The same goes for GBNRTC, in that they control to a degree where transportation infrastructure funding goes in the region. The problem is that with each city, town, village controling land-use, there is little coordination with GBNRTC. That's the major problem we have going on in the area at present, no or limited coordination between land-use and transportation planning. W really need to take a look at taking land-use away from the locals and give it to a new agency grown out of the GBNRTC. Something akin to Metro in Minianapolis, or preferably Metro in Portland. Not likely to happen here anytime soon though since NYS has absolutely no clue about this problem since everything is hunky dorry down in NYC metro area.

fix buffalo said...


You don't seem very optimistic. Is this Regional Framework just another project that will end up on the bookshelf and ideas/materials never implemented because of dominant political class and their self serving interests...?

ryan said...

"W[e] really need to take a look at taking land-use away from the locals and give it to a new agency grown out of the GBNRTC"

That's one of the scariest comments I've ever heard.

"Is this Regional Framework just another project that will end up on the bookshelf..."

Let's hope so. Hopefully the entire regionalism fad will die a painful death someday soon.

thestip said...

Ryan, I have to ask why you may think that letting each individual lowest level government, control all land use planning is such a good thing? If you look at other states we are one of the only in the US that allows this. Most states REQUIRE coordination between land-use and transportation planning. In NYS there is no requirement, so that's why we are always playing catch-up. Look at Transit Rd. It devides multiple communities, but there is no requirement for those communities to work together on what kind of development faces each other on either side of the street. Meanwhile NYSDOT has to spend millions constantly upgrading the roadway to cut congestion, which is created anyways with all of the runaway development. Don't make me get started about how all of this unplanned development cost the average suburbanite more in taxes than a developed areas, because they are always having to build more infrastructure to deal with all of this SPRAWL! And then there are the overly redundant polititians through all these little fifedoms, but that is a whole other story!

ryan said...


I'll preface my comments by disclaiming that I have a background in urban planning, sat on a local zoning board, and was involved in local/regional politics. I'm well aware of all of the "problems" as you describe them. I don't agree with centralizing land-use planning into a bureaucracy that is further from the private landowner's control. That said, when I was appointed to a comprehensive planning committee a few years ago the first thing we did was call the county and form communication channels with the surrounding towns. We didn't need a regional bureaucracy to make this happen. In fact, the cooperation was international due to the location of the town.

I'd rather see the evolution of planning in america go the opposite direction. Namely, into the outhouse. The local boards are little more than patronage pits for local committeemen and revenue tools for the town, but they can still be managed and influenced by the local populace. Outright elimination of zoning would be the best solution. Public planning would die without the tools to enforce it and we would all be better off as a result. In the meantime, I'd prefer planning and zoning be handled by local political hacks, not regional political hacks.