12/23/2009

HV Variances Approved

Posted by MJ

The Buffalo News and LUSJ Reporting.

Some quick thoughts on why I voted yes.

  • • The residents’ concerns were heard. I believe that HV has the track record to alleviate most of them on the type of tenants. Police, Credit, Sex-Offender and Current Home Visits along with zero tolerance on police visits or breaking lease rules. If there is to be low income in the neighborhood these are the people you want to be running it. They will also have staff in the area and have local people involved. This is not some guy from Texas who bought sight unseen houses off E-bay. They are a non profit that was started by people from a neighborhood with similar conerns to this one. I can not think of anyone better to head this type of project.

    • One must realize that the whole district was zoned the same as new build neighborhoods (subdivisions). Not one existing property there meets current zoning to begin with (maybe except the vacant lots). Nor do I believe that it should since it is an urban neighborhood. It illustrates the problem with number based zoning. All it guaranties you is ratioed junk. If they met all the requirements all we would have is a small apartment house surrounded by asphalt parking. Or even like the duplex on High near Locus, something that does not fit in at all.

    • The parking is more than is currently there. Owners will go in knowing they only have space for one car it is up to them to decide if they want to rent. With 99->97% occupancy and waiting lists they have elsewhere I don't forecast them having a problem renting. The one spot each residence also opens up green space. It discourages long term overnight unchecked visitors. They mentioned trying to possibly create a lot on Locust if they could contact the overseas owner.

    • All housing must past state requirements for historic districts. Front porches and hardboard composite siding are items you don't even find on new build suburban houses. These will blend in with the existing housing and hopefully give other owners some security in bringing their rentals up to the new par.

    There were a few others I now forget without my notes at hand. Maybe I'll update it with more later
This is a huge investment that sets a foundation. The next challenge is how to get other owners who are slacking to step it up and how to encourage private investment and more home ownership. The meeting was full of people who love their neighborhood and were passionate as they should be. They should be commended for sticking it out and trying to make it better. I believe this is a step in making it better and one with the biggest chance of initial success.

1 comments:

Anonymous said...

MJ,
I appreciate you thinking it through very carefully. I would have preferred a different philosophy of trying to change the culture of the neighborhood by enforcing current laws and not accepting the status quo of housing not meeting codes, etc. I have read all this about HV and believe it, I just don't think it will work here.
I was a landlord who tried to do everything HV is going to do, it just became impossible to get tenants.
I just firmly believe the city should have done something out of the box and enticed them to make these units two family (or even one family) by maybe offering even more tax breaks or community development funds.
IMHO, perpetuating these 4 family homes will perpetuate the problem, no matter how good a landlord is there.
And the only thing I firmly disagree with you about is the importance of parking. Two spots per unit is critical to get working tenants. If HV is such a good landlord 'guest' parking can be stopped, I never had a problem stopping that.
Final thoughts, I think the city is selling themselves short not trying to change the culture of the neighborhood by enforcing codes, "putting paint on a pig still makes it a pig" (or something like that)! But I do hope the project succeeds.

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