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.

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

But let's see if they are once again telling us they are planning on putting close to $1,000,000 per house in. If so, it should be looked at very closely because who would be dumb enough to do that, or who would be smart enough to rip off tax payers for that much money?
Remember everybody, this is tax payer money building these houses - not private money. And I am sure the city won't even get any property taxes from them either.

Concerned said...

Put you info here, or is it top secret?

GIANT waste of taxpayer money!!!

Anonymous said...

It must be secret info, you can only get it meeting in person with Smith. Government at it's best!

Now let me get this right, we have an area of the city that is extremely overloaded with low income housing, so the solution is to add more high density low income housing, getting variances for houses too big for lots, uprooting business locations, and taking over community gardens.
Makes a lot of sense to me. This sounds like a 'follow the money' situation to me, WHO IS GOING TO PROFIT FROM ALL THIS?

MJ said...

Why not take up Jack Smith on an offer to meet and discuss it? I can see gov't not responding as being "top secret" but you have an alderman willing to discuss it with you. All you have to do is show up.

It took a lot of hard work to put this together. Even if it turns out to be a non-winner you still have to commend a community group going out and taking the initiative to make things better. Or I guess one could sit at home and throw stones on the internet. Both seem just as helpful ;)

Most owners on that street are currently getting a "tax break". Picking up 3+ unit houses for less than 10k you can pay them off in a year. Keeping their properties and tenants is suppressing their assessments and thus giving them a "tax break." I'd rather give the tax break to an entity willing to come in and invest money then entities just feeding off of the decline of the neighborhood.

How is an old gas station that's been empty as long as I can remember "uprooting" a business location?

Rocketboy said...

"I'd rather give the tax break to an entity willing to come in and invest /taxpayer/ money"

This is one of the main sticking points for me. It's a company that invests using taxpayer money, and it does so by not paying taxes.

I'm still not sure what part of this is a good deal.

Also, what's better. Asking people to talk one or one, or having an open forum where you can discuss with many people at once?

Jack Smith said...

If anyone is willing to put forth the effort to set up a meeting time and place, I am willing to meet as a group to answer any questions I can. I am also willing to meet one on one. This is not top secret information, it has all been stated before, either in this forum and/or the Buffalo News and LUS&J.

Rocketboy-Large groups are better for pure information distribution, smaller groups are better for dialogue. I was hoping for dialogue.

Anonymous said...

All I want to see is a budget for spending close to $1,000,000 per house on building another low income hi density house on Genessee st? I'd also love to see the business plan that says it will ever pay for itself.
Love it. Housing we will build with tax dollars, support with more tax dollars, and not ever see any return while we continue to add low income apartments to a saturated area!

And in writing (such as on this forum) is the best place to disseminate accuarate information. Post the budget, post the business plan - or are you afraid to because it doesn't make sense???

MJ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MJ said...

Again...Jack Smith has offered to meet even with a group. Usually nothing noteworthy gets accomplished in annonymous "open forums" as they usually slide downhill. I'm surpised this one has been civil for over a year and half now. What's so scary about a real diologue between known parties?

Rocketboy said...

MJ... Well, here's one reason. We're already here. I don't have to take extra time out of my day to meet with someone. Also, in a persona meeting, I will not have the ability to absorb and research the information I am given. I would also place myself into a situation where I could be bullied, intimidated, or harassed.

But more importantly, as a taxpayer, I do deserve to know the details of what I'm paying for.

And of course Anon, you'll never be allowed to see what goes into the bids, because you have to pay for to see what you're bidding on first.

Jack... We can't have dialog without information. We can't have dialog without the ability to look into the information that has (or in this case, has not) been provided. Also, this isn't a dialog between me and you, this is a dialog between taxpayers and a company that you work for that is looking for special deals while representing the city that the company is looking for special deals from.

MJ said...

To play devil's advocate: people are already taking their time to repeatedly come here and in some form “harass” the only council member willing to even tread into these types of anonymous shark infested waters. Not only that but council member that is willing to explain it for the courtesy of giving the same respect of knowing who he is talking to.

If the three people posting here asked to meet with Mr Smith at the library or some other place, they would be the ones risking harassment and bullying? If anything I think the numbers would be on their side. how would copying documents there while getting his explanation of them would somehow prohibit them from being able to then research it and later critique it? If anything else it would make them more informed about the overall situation, even if they don’t agree with it. It is not a mock trial competion but only a source for desired information.

I'm pro everything official to the city being on eLockport. Unfortunately we are not there yet. But in the meantime you have someone willing to go over it with those who profess to be truly concerned about it in person. It may involve a couple hours out of one's day but is a much greater deal than downloading some generic document posted on line and then anonymously shouting about it into the electronic wind.

Like most things in life civic duty is not supposed to be easy. People have to be informed and engaged in what is going on. They may have to devote some hours of their life to something they find particularly important to where they live. What is there that says it should be any other way?

concerned said...

-I do not mean to harass the alderman, but being in the public eye means you should be willing to put up or shut up. Why can't 'his' company (if I remember right he had to form a local company for this, correct?) post details such as how they can possibly require that much tax payer money and what the business plan to repay these loans includes. Please note, I do not believe he is trying to make money or do anything bad re this project, but I do believe someone is!
-Hopefully he will recuse himself from all discussion and votes on this project if he is involved with the company.
- MJ don't you feel bad that he has let you talk for a long time about how you are looking forward to historic looking buildings where all along they must have known that wasn't going to be true?
- I am guessing on this, but I will bet the developers of the other low income slum projects in the city (Glendale, Ruhlman, Vine St) all also said they were going to police tenants. State law is state law, you cannot immediately evict someone as HV is stating they will do, period! Check with the city attorney and see if they are blowing smoke or not.

There is no reason a meeting is required to post the details of this deal if it is going to be funded with public money.

This sounds like a good story for Readers Digest, one of the stories where they show wasted taxpayer dollars - "million dollar houses built in overcrowded area with taxpayer "historic" money".

Jack Smith said...

I do not work for either Lockport Neighborhood Revitalization or for Housing Visions. Work is performing a service and being paid for it. I volunteer my time in the belief that what I am trying to accomplish will benefit my community. I suppose I could just sit back in anonymity and watch my neighborhood go to hell around me and criticize others attempting to improve the quality of life around me, but that would be cowardly. I chose to help build a strong block club, form a not-for-profit who, and run for alderman to improve housing and the quality of life in our neighborhoods. If none of you are willing to meet in person and discuss this project, my nuisance abatement point system proposal, term limits, Family Video violating a zoning ordinance, my questioning of the pumper specifications or any other topic of your choosing, then don't blame me that you don't have the factual information you claim to desire. It is your unwillingness to get involve publicly which contributes to the decline of the housing and quality of life in the City of Lockport.

Concerned said...

Or could it be a political process that does everything in secret causing the problems? i.e. how many people even knew HV was presenting to the planning board again?
too much money, too many secrets, something isn't right.
And nice word-around that you don't 'work' for them, hopefully the city attorney or ethics board will have a different opinion.
But again, I do not believe you are in this for money - but someone is. You are in it in a misguided effort that wastng millions of tax dollars adding more low income housing to a saturated area is a good idea.
Change all these plans to 2 families and I would be right on board, though it would still be wasting too much money at least it would help change the character of the neighborhood.

Rocketboy said...

Case closed. As per Jack Smith, I am nothing but a coward, because I keep my online life separate from my personal life. So I don't deserve to know anything, or have any opinions about anything.

I've just been a life-long resident of Lockport, 30+ years, but because I choose to keep separations between different aspects of my life, I'm a coward who does not deserve to know where his tax money goes.

You know what else is done without disclosing a name Jack? Voting. But is voting with a closed curtain a cowardly act as well?

I see that you only want discourse if you can control it.

I'm all for development. I'm just not for apartment buildings being bought with taxpayer money. I'm also not for carving this city up into more apartments. You want to improve this city, encourage owner occupied homes. Encourage reversing the damage done to our old homes by creating incentives to convert a two family back to a single family.

So yes, I have two very fundamental problems with HV. 1. If it's such a good idea, they should only use their money.
2. It does not help to reverse the problems in Lockport, but add to it. I know, I know, they have the best-est renters ever, right? How does that fix anything besides what takes place within the property line?

But again, as per Jack, I'm just a coward who only visits here to criticize him (although last time I checked, I agreed with his questioning of the pumper bid, and agree (in concept) with his push for increased focus on nuisance law, but alas, why bother with the facts, when someone can claim being a victim so we don't have to answer any questions we don't, right guys?)

Lockport Citizen said...

It is my understanding that this project has private investors and is able to utilize tax credits because of the criteria that they meet thru NY State in providing low to moderate income housing with the mission to try to improve blighted, neglected areas. These programs are already out there and our tax dollars are used irregardless as to where in the state these houses get built. I personally think it's good to see something that can help the area being done here because so far no one else has come up with anything better over the last 20+ years!

Anonymous said...

The private investors buy tax credits so ultimately it is tax dollars. The ones buying the tax credits will make the money off this.
Oh, so we should waste these tax dollars because if we don't someone else will. Makes sense to me. Great idea.

Anonymous said...

Rocketboy you said "This is one of the main sticking points for me. It's a company that invests using taxpayer money, and it does so by not paying taxes." This is not an accurate statement. First of all they will be paying taxes. In fact because of the improvements of the neighborhood and the new construction homes, they will probably be paying more than the city is getting right now. Also again they are utilizing private funds and tax credits This is not the same as the taxpayers footing the bill for the entire project!

What is truly irking to me, is seeing multi-unit homes in this area that are assessed at just a fraction of what my home is(which is a maintained, modest dwelling)in the same area and paying much less in taxes but yet requiring 3-4 times more in garbage services, police, etc!

Rocketboy said...

They are using large amounts of grant money and (at least in the first plan) were asking for lowered property taxes. It's not a matter of "These programs are already out there and our tax dollars are used", because our tax dollars SHOULD NOT be out there for these types of projects in the first place. Sure, we are not footing the bill for the whole project, but a very significant part of it. So much so, that without taxpayer money, these projects do not make sense.

But 11:04, with regard to assesments... YES! This is the problem. Giving money to HV is NOT going to fix ANY of this. If we're going to be handing out tax money, it should be to encourage home ownership. It should be to encourage increasing the value of the house. Not by adding to the problem by adding more apartment units.

MJ said...

1) Density is not a problem. If you want a thriving tax base to ultimately lower your taxes, you are going to need it. Especially if you want a DT that doesn't resemble the no man's land of S. Transit and an inner city that doesn't represent and empty war torn area.

2) Voting and commenting are somewhat different, especially when you are directly addressing someone. People are always up in arms about newspaper ads, fliers etc from unknown sources. There needs to be some accountability somewhere. And even with voting, your presence is verified although your vote is not known.

I do not think that "put up or shut up" applies to anonymous "voices". He is willing to put up or shut up to anyone willing to talk to him.

3) This is not some person with no track record asking to quick and dirty chop up some houses. You have an entity with demonstrated successes investing in the neighborhood to historical standards. A company that was researched, sought out and brought here by the local block club. Want people to reinvest? Show some quality investment. I'd love to see some middle-class development tax credits etc but the state does not offer them.

All of Buffalo's redone lofts etc were made financially sensible with similar credits (historical, low income, etc). What's better, crumbling buildings and empty lots or creating a base to build from? The gov't subsidized and promoted the outpouring of capital from older cities. It shouldn't be surprised it needs to do the same now to have a chance of shoring them back up. Is a bunch of low income houseing the best avenue? No. But can we smartly use that avenue to move forward. Yes.

4) No I do not feel deceived with "historic looking". I have not seen the renderings and all I have to go off is a planning board members comment and the newspapers interpretation of it at this time.

The buildings I saw last winter were a good start. Historic homes to be redone will need to be rehabbed historically accurate on the outside.

And when it comes down to it, how urban the site plan is will have a lot more to do with the feel than some fancier dormers.

5) Most developments these days "don't make sense" because of the way our state/country operates. Did Geico make sense in Amherst using Empire Zone Benefits that were originally supposed to be for depressed areas? Does it make sense for IDAs to offer local companies tax breaks to shuffle about the area? No. Does it help to not play the game to make a stand while your municipality is drained? No. State legislation needs to be changed. Until then you have to play with the rules you are given.

6) Is this the best bang for the buck? That I am not sure of. Is there a great plan to build of this investment? That I'm even less sure of. But just like the south block, I'm willing to use some public money to attempt to reverse 40 years of nothingness and do my best to input what I feel is needed. A city has to provide low income housing. We're much better off doing it right which usually cost some more. This involves higher quality exteriors, site plans that match the neighborhood, etc. From this point on we need the avenues to get the existing stock up to the same standard regardless of the number of units.

7) As for Jack, I'm sorry that he felt the need to reply. But that's what happens when you have a bunch of anonymous voices calling you out. Any politician would have to be out of their mind to regularly participate in conversations with anonymous people. Keep your "private life private" but also regognize it as a possible crutch or excuse. The gov't has ways of getting documents which anyone is welcome to use. If you want some serious discourse about it with someone in power, you may need to break that desire to keep everything "separate".

Concerned said...

Maybe Jack could just answer some questions -
1. Is there a business plan that says investing around $900,000 - $1,000,000 in a four family house (anywhere!) is viable or will it just be a tax payer gift?
2. Why not make them use the lots of existing slum houses in the neighborhood instead of lots that aren't problems?
3. Have HV's claims that they will immediately evict problem tenants been verified that they can legally do that? If the rent's paid, it takes an act of god to get rid of a tenant.

And again, if you want to change the character of the neighborhood you LOWER the density, don't increase it.
I checked out the Seattle link MJ posted. One interesting thing I saw was that the pride themselves on providing yards and increased green space! They also have houses for sale. Obviously they went with lower density to make it seem like a neighborhood (yes, I did see some multi-unit places though).

MJ said...

Change the character to what? The no man's land of East Buffalo or East Niagara Falls? You only push the problem outward causing greater areas of decline. Places to invest are growing, not shrinking.

The increased green space in the High Point link is through organized parks etc. Look at the pics, the housing is as dense as Genesee St as a good urban neighborhood should be. The good thing for us is that we already have this infrastructure laid out and HV is willing to compliment it.
The High Point slide show: http://www.seattlehousing.org/redevelopment/high-point/photos/

And half the $550 million dollar High Point project was tax credits, grants,
http://www.seattlehousing.org/redevelopment/high-point/plan/
Maybe they should have left the area as it was since it couldn't "pay its own way"? The cost per unit of that project: $323,529 ($550M/1700 units)

They used a wonderful urban plan. We need ours. It would go along way to selling this project and making sure the most come from it to benefit the neighborhood. This needs to be the seed to move forward. Otherwise we do lose out on our investment.

I commend people for asking questions, etc as every citizen should. Maybe its just the way they are being presented. They can be asked without all the insinuations. It makes what could possibly be a beneficial conversation go down hill from the first statement.

Just A Thought said...

I think you may all be surprised to see that when people start caring about the area via these new builds and housing restorations, it may have a tendency to encourage the surrounding homes to be "beautified" too. Also the derelict houses become even more noticable and perhaps fed up neighbors and building inspection will start to put pressure on owners to clean up! Just a thought!

MJ said...

Correct. That's seeing this as a large investment in a small frame of time ultimately creating a foundation to0 build off. Purposely built strucutres to match and compliment the existing housing stock (or its potential) and urban infrastructure. The hope is that the ig quality investment breeds more investment.

What is needed to turn hope into something actual is a longer term plan to bring additional investment into the area. The current minus of a high concentration of low income tenants (the type that don't care about their home) and hands off landloards is still an additional hurdle to climb. Additional laws (or enforcement of existing laws) and incentives (to those willing to invest some elbow grease and take a risk)will still be needed.

Don't underestimate the effect of filling in multiple empty properties with high quality new builds and renovating some of the wonderful existing old structures.

Rocketboy said...

"I think you may all be surprised to see that when people start caring about the area via these new builds and housing restorations, it may have a tendency to encourage the surrounding homes to be "beautified" too."

Owner-occupied homes. But they will do so at the risk of higher taxes.

Anonymous said...

I agree that what we desperately need is some kind of "REAL" incentive to bring back multi-unit homes to single family and two-units homes. I'm sure it's easier said than done because the city would potentially lose out on taxes that they currently rely on. However, by doing this ultimately the tax base would increase and the city would be more attractive to move to.

Anonymous said...

"I agree that what we desperately need is some kind of "REAL" incentive to bring back multi-unit homes to single family and two-units homes. I'm sure it's easier said than done because the city would potentially lose out on taxes that they currently rely on. However, by doing this ultimately the tax base would increase and the city would be more attractive to move to."

But then why are these 4 family units being pushed? Put them in as 2 families!

MJ said...

I don't think that there are taxes to be lost out on. The city tax structure as far as I know is purely on assessment. Those who fix up their property pay a pentalty and those that let it slide while collecting profit from it are rewarded. With more people letting it slide those investing lose out twice when they can not recoup their investment. No difference tax wise between 4 or 2 units when talking ridiculusly low assesments due to neglect.

Home ownership is not a given for a nice property, though it helps. There are plenty of owners in the city treating their properties as bad as the tenants/landloards we are complaining about here. The solution is creating an atmosphere that rewards investment instead of allowing values to slowly fall all around.

What would one say the benefit is of 4 smaller two unit properties on the Scrito Jewelery Site instead of 2 larger 4 unit ones? Looking at the areal now, I think I'd actually prefer 4 separate 2 unit structures there. They'd mimic the existing house stock much better. If the one property in the NE corner were bought and removed, a nice alleyway with garages at the rear could be built.

Anonymous said...

Well it's my understanding that in Housing Visions homes you will typically see separate entrances, it would be interesting to see what the 4 unit structures will look like.

Anonymous said...

MJ- For years I have been asking Community Development and the Mayor about why we can't look into a program that would give incentives for bringing homes back to 1 & 2 units. They insist there is one, however, when I looked into it,it made no sense whatsoever.

If I can recall, it basically excused you from paying the difference on the tax increase for a few years. Unfortunately if you were to bring a 4-family home back to a 1 or 2 family, chances are there would not really be an increase in taxes. More realistically it would remain the same. So what we be the advantage?

Rocketboy said...

It would need to be a longer-term advantage. The cost to fully remove the apartment dividers would be a heck of a lot more expensive than a few years of tax increases due to the changeover being forgiven.

MJ.. of course there are private homes that are slowly disintegrating. But that's a loss that the homeowner will have to pay for. For an apartment, as long as you can get someone in the building, that's income. Make enough income, and you don't really need to worry about the long term, because the short term can make up the long term loss.

That, and the occupiers have no real vested interest in the building either.

MJ said...

A good point but having a vested interest is a double edged sword. If my street is starting to sprout bad properties, my vested interest is going to tell me to halt investing in mine (anything I can't take with me)or I will lose money in the end. I've seen many relatives and friends do that. Nobody wins in this environment as it is a race to the bottom.

Even now I have to be extrememly careful of any money I put into the house. When a house behind you can't sell for $25k you have to start to think carefully. And many many people do, hence the lack of new investment by a lot of property owners.

When it comes down to it this is this is the bigger causes of urban decay in america. With no transportaion/planning/tax/etc policies to promote reuse of older infrastrucutre the best place to be vested is just before the peak of the development wave. You may sacrifice walkablity, be slave to your car and live in a no man's land of surface parking but you will have some security in your investment. Just be sure to move before the disinvestment wave passes you by. The crime and other such problems usually follow the vacuum left from the disinvesment and help it spread as nearby streets want to cut their losses.

The only areas to buck this trend around here are those like Elmwood in Buffalo through offering a unique place to live. Most of that is from no help of the gov't. It's usually those vested people willing to take up the long drawn out fight against demolition, paving for parking, demissive police forces/gov't entities, uncaring property owners and establishing urban design guidelines.

What we have here is just that. A neighborhod group fighting for something better. An expensive plan but one that would make a large concentrated impact (in time and location) on the area setting up the ability to take another step forward.

Even in the east side of Buffalo, where you can get properties for $1, there are still not many takers. Who would still want to invest in a vacating area? Demolition shows giving up on an area, not faith in its ability to rebound and grow.

The current programs are weak or limited to low income people who are strugling with the house to begin with. There needs to be a bold plan and an active marketing of it. Give anyone willing to invest 100k into turning around a property a 10 year tax break and 10 year phase in. Make it a sliding scale based on the amount invested and on the number of takers. Start scaling it back from there as value and demand rises. Tie it in with minimum rent criteria. Make it stupid to not want to do it. In 20 years we'd be much better of than if we just let the values continue to slide and new vacant feilds bloom. This does not include any offshoot development from the new money injected into the area. With the rediculus values of the units as they are now, I don't see what there is to lose in the near term either. Just make sure it is concentrated to start a firm foundation to keep growing from. (Transit/Washburn/High/Walnut or probably even tighter to begin with)

No time to check spelling...Thoughts? ;)

concerned said...

MJ - my problem with this is it just isn't enough. You can't change 9 properties (original plan, now fewer) on Genessee St and honestly think it's going to make a bit of difference. If we as taxpayers want to throw $9,000,000 at that street imho it could be used as grants to renovate every house on the street. Elmwood St (Buffalo)is a totally different animal. It's a main drag with commercial and residential properties.
The only part of genessee that has improved over the years is where the Rosenbergs have done all their work. Why can't the neighborhood group get their advice? I haven't talked to them, but I know at the public meeting they were against this.

MJ said...

Then that we both agree on ;) It is not enough. If we expect it to be the end-all-be-all we will be disappointed.

There are not 9 million in "grants" to be had. A smaller portion that is grants and tax-credit based is for low income housing. It is being worked within a confined context.

Elmwood is only a totally different animal because it has spent the last 20-30 years turning the corner. It was once sacrificed to the emergence of suburnban site plan drug stores, fast food joints, and low income housing. Even still today a big complaint by the naysayers is that there are still too many low income residences in the area.

But when you look at it as an area: Delaware to Elmwood to Richmond you basically have our Main St (shops and "should be" mixed use buildings radiating out into an urban neighborhood that has
the density to support the stores and activity on the Elmwood Strip. Genessee is only 2-3 blocks form Main. Not all that much different from all the old big houses on Asland that were chopped up into 3-4 units decades ago in the leaner times.

Most other commercial strips in the city of Buffalo that went the lower density pave and knock down route are no longer in existance. Hertel is making a come back, but once again is has the urban bones intact to do so and the now high prices of Elmwood pushing those with more normal budgets out that way.

Elmood area has shown the sucess of an urban area returnign and embracing its urban roots. I still ask people to submit me to an older area around the NE that has demolished its way to success and high property values.

Anonymous said...

Methinks MJ is getting the little city of Lockport confused with a big city.
We are a small town, we like yards, cars and shopping plaza's. We do not want an Elmwood ave or Chippeawa St here. We like regular, law abiding neighborhoods that neighbors know each other on, not neighborhoods filled with 4 family houses and no yards. We like community gardens.
Your ideas are great for big cities, but Lockport isn't one and not many people want it to be one.
Your heart is in the right place, you have some good ideas, but they are big city ideas.

MJ said...

I'll take that as sarcasm ;)

Creating a walkable community center was a staple of human civilization and interaction for thousands of years. This was true for mega cities or for small hamlets. "Big City" has nothing to do with with. Look at the picture of Lockport in 1950 and then tell me it is a "big city" idea. Would you consider Lewiston, East Aurora, Ellicottville, etc as "big city" ideals?

For those who romanticize over strip plazas and more parking than actual buildings, the Shangri-La of S. Transit is there to fill your needs.

I am not saying to "take your cars" away. My point is to consider there are other users out there (children , elderly, those who just like to walk, ride bicycles, etc) that should also be able to use the infrastructure. (I'll have a parking post within a couple weeks.) There's a lot of unused land that could be tax generating buildings instead of empty parking lots. It could work together to make it somewhere worth going to and spending time at(and money). Would you go to the mall to look around if each and every store was 100'ft from each other and separated by its own exclusive parking?

The more people who walk past your house or past you on the street: the more people you know. The farther apart your houses/businesses are with attached garages etc the less people you know and interact with.

Lockport has small backyards now. Who's talking of taking them away? I'm always for quality over quantity when it comes to a back yard.

I too am curious why they are mentioning the community garden site. There are enough other sites around in need. I see no need to take it away after the work that was put into it.

I have the site plan for the Scrito Site. I'll post it later. I don't like it.

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