7/27/2010

HV Before Zoning Board Tonight.

Posted by MJ

Housing Visions is appealing several zoning variances tonight at 6 pm at city hall.

The old Scrito Jewelery site plan deviates a lot from the initial site plans they provided in January that had more of an urban layout to them. To me, this plan shouts "low income" where as the previous one blended in better with the existing housing stock.

I tried to attach it but I keep getting an error. I'll try again later.

7/23/2010

Lockport Old Home Week

Posted by MJ

Lockport Old Home Week gets under way tomorrow. The Buffalo News and the LUSJ reported earlier in the week.

It’s perhaps the largest collection of events in the city in a century.
Old Home Week starts Saturday and runs through July 30, bookended by the city’s biggest parade in decades on the first day and a giant fireworks show on the last.
“I think we’re in the neighborhood of 100 different events,” said Douglas Farley, director of development for the History Center of Niagara, also known as the Niagara County Historical Society....
The event has grown bigger than I ever thought it would be. A big congratulations and thank you to all those who have put it together and to all of those who are participating in it.
I feel the only missing element is actual old home tours or something similar. I'd imagine there could be some type of system to show off the housing stock, its possibilities, and before-and-afters of homes that people have invested in. If not actual tours, then maybe a pictorial display? This would not only interest visitors, but would also give residents a glimpse into what fellow residents are doing with their homes. Hopefully the result would a mix of inspiration and security in the possible investment.

I have also entertained the thought of doing that here on the blog. I think it would be an interesting feature to show some anonymous photos of some before and after renovations happening in the city. Think anyone would participate?

7/13/2010

Housing Visions Rd. 2

Posted by MJ

The Buffalo News and LUSJ reported on the HV's visit to the planning board last night:

As promised, Housing Visions is back with a plan to revitalize Genesee Street.

The Syracuse-based not-for-profit agency, which specializes in troubled-neighborhood turnaround, is negotiating again with local landowners to buy up parcels along Genesee and several cross streets.....
Next up a visit to the Zoning Board for parking variances similar to the ones they were granted last winter for other properties:
The Pine/Genesee portion will go before the Zoning Board of Appeals later this month. A number of variances will be sought, including a waiver on the rule that two parking spaces must be provided per apartment unit. The site plan on that portion calls for one shared parking lot for three apartment houses containing a total of 10 units and one parking space for each unit. The zoning board OK’d the one-space-per-unit layout of the overall development last year.

Another item of note is this quote:
"Neither new builds nor rebuilds may too closely imitate the originals they’re replacing, Lockwood said. That’s per the direction of the state Historic Preservation Office, which approves Housing Visions’ construction plans."
I am familiar with the requirements that an addition to a registered historic structure must be readily distinguishable from the original structure. I guess it is no surprise that it also applies to districts. We'll have to see what the proposed plans look like. I have yet to be able to get a hold of them. I'll try to get something at the zoning board meeting.

While this statute can be an excuse to supply crap architecture I don't feel it has to be the case. The statute is most likely open to interpretation. The community center that was shown last winter was nice looking with peaked roof, wrap around porch etc.

The main goal needs to be making the new builds fit in with the existing property. This goes beyond looks into the realm of the site plans. The site plans themselves must also mimic the current land use around them as to blend in and add value as opposed to most short sighted development site plans that detract from it.

An interesting development to note is High Point in Seattle. It is a development of 1700 mixed income housing units (600 low-income/senior units). Although it was a total remake of a distressed neighborhood it uses some sound principles to make the total package succeed.


HV should be a first step to shoring up the street and DT next door. What remains is a plan to promote private investment in the remaining structures in the area.

7/13/2010

Altro Park Free Summer Movies

Posted by MJ




The free Wednesday night summer movies at Altro Park started last night.

UPDATE 7/13 - remaining movies are:

7/07 -
7/14 - Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
7/21 - Blind Side
7/28 - Monsters vs Aliens
8/04 - Imagine That
8/11 - New Moon
8/18 - (rain date?)

Last year's posting here.
Oringinally posted 7/8/10

7/09/2010

Buffalo Nuisance Idea

Posted by MJ

The Buffalo News reported on Buffalo Housing Judge Henry Nowak's idea for a new Nuisance measure that attempts to put some power into the hands of nearby residents:

Buffalo residents tired of loud parties, dogs running loose and even drug crimes next door could have a new, easier way to haul the offenders into court.
And they could do it on their own.

A nuisance-abatement law proposed by City Housing Court Judge Henry J. Nowak would allow residents to bring the complaints into Housing Court — without relying on city inspectors or lawyers, and even if no property code violation can be found....

7/09/2010

Lockport in Bloom

Posted by MJ

Sundial from a Lockport in Bloom Backyard

The Lockport in Bloom garden walk is this weekend and the weather is looking good. The Buffalo News ran an article today. Maps can be picked up at City Hall or at the "official" start point: The Kenan Center on Locust St.

It is nice to see the event growing every year. Allowing people to see investment in properties (at least on the outside) helps inspire them to do the same, or at the least, feel more comfortable investing.

If any one would like to drop a plug for your garden, feel free.

7/09/2010

New Toyota Building

Posted by MJ

Buffalo News reported that Toyota bought the old Gambino site and will be putting up a new showroom. It will connect to the relatively new service building that Gambino had put up about 10 years ago. It will be nice to see the old Gambino eye-sore replaced.

7/08/2010

Fireworks?

Posted by MJ

Waiting for Goat Island 2010 4th of July Fireworks...and waiting...and waiting...

This year we decided to mix it up and check out the fireworks at Niagara Falls State Park instead of heading over to Outwater Park..

The park was pretty full and I was excited for the show. I confirmed through a few news sources that there would be fireworks from Queen Victoria Park on the Ontario side and from Goat Island on the American side. They are also stated on the state park site.

At 10 the fireworks started on the Canadian side. For some reason they fire them out from the base of the gorge. In my opinion they made for a sad sight as they struggled to make it out of the gorge and into the sky. They last for 12 minutes.

I figured since the American side did not also start at 10 it would follow the finish of the Canadian show but they did not. People started to leave with clueless looks on their faces muttering "was that it?" We waited around for about 20 minutes and by this point most other people left.

I was ready to drop it as a learning experience (fireworks must only have been at Hyde Park) but then I saw this article in the Buffalo News claiming there was some type of show on Goat Island.

...Large crowds turned out at dusk — and even long before then — to watch the fireworks over Terrapin Point on Goat Island at the brink of the Horseshoe Falls and at Sal Maglie Stadium in the city-owned Hyde Park at Hyde Park Boulevard and Pine Avenue.
Officials of the Niagara Region State Parks Police and of Niagara USA, the official tourism promotion agency in Niagara County, agreed that Sunday’s crowds were likely to be the largest seen any time this year in Niagara Falls....
Did I, and seemingly everyone else there, miss something? Did anyone actually see them last Sunday? If nothing else we will be heading back to catch one of the weekly firework shows they claim to put on. ;)

7/08/2010

The Pumper Saga Continues

Posted by MJ

The Buffalo News and the LUSJ reported on the continuing quest for a new LFD Pumper.

...Passuite met with the Council last week to discuss two bids received on the city’s latest call for a pumper truck. Churchville submitted the more expensive bid, for $530,000, while Gorman Emergency Vehicles of Elma offered to build a truck for $450,000.

Passuite endorsed Churchville’s bid, saying it was the only one that met all of the requirements outlined in the bid specifications. Gorman Emergency Vehicles offered a lower price but also a number of “exceptions,” or alternative versions of truck features demanded in the specifications. Then Passuite turned up the pressure on the Council by noting a $247,000 grant the city recently received for a pumper truck would be in jeopardy if it didn’t make a deal with a vendor by July 16. The granting entity, Federal Emergency Management Agency, set a series of “benchmarks,” or deadlines for steps in the process of acquiring a truck, he said.

The pressure tactic didn’t sit well with Chapman. He told the Council on Wednesday that, over the past week, he spent about 20 hours poring over the bid specifications and talking to truck vendors and a FEMA official about the situation. He claims several vendors told him the specifications were written by Churchville, and in such a way that no other vendor could meet them as fully.

For instance, Chapman said, the specifications call for a Hercules foam unit. Hercules is a brand trademarked by Pierce fire apparatus — of which Churchville Fire Equipment is the regional dealer.

“These are proprietary specs; other suppliers won’t bid on them,” Chapman said. “These specs did not give a fair playing field (to) other bidders.”...
 
I thought the whole point of the current re-bidding was to make the specifications more generic. It appears that was not done and we are right back where we started the last time the purchase was denied.

7/03/2010

"Mini-Concerts" at Canal Street Gazebo

Posted by LoneWolf

The LSJ reported on July 1:
"Canal Street Concerts to start" (don't have direct link to aticle this is partial quotes direct from paper)

"Starting on July 1(Thursday) 16 bands will play at the Canal Street Gazebo.  Time frames 11am-1pm and 1-3pm."

"These concerts are working in tandem with downtown booster program effort to get food cart operators working on Canal Street and to get information about local businesses in the hands of visitors"

Heather Peck, program manager of Lockport Main Street Inc. was quoted (in part) in the LSJ to say " We think its a service to the comminuty too; we hope local residents will come out and support this."

Also quote from Heather: " Entertainers and vendors are welcome to apply for an open spot on the Canal Street schedule, entertainers are asked to make a 2 hour commitment but ARE welcome to stay longer if they like. For an application call Heather Peck @ (716)434-0212"

Daily Performers Schedule as well as other information will be posted at http://www.lockportmainstreet.org/


Well looks like something good is comming of the Canal Street Gazebo  :)
~Jeff