More Laws Won't Help...
If you are interested in getting the scoop on some of Buffalo's hottest political and preservation oriented news...sign-up for Buffalo Issue Alerts, moderated by über-cool Cynthia Van Ness, when she's not peddling about town or working as one of Buffalo's best librarians. Alan Bedenko from Buffalo Pundit reads it and beat me to posting about a proposed ordinance that the Common Council may be considering sometime soon. It's about "demolition by neglect" and pretty much goes to the heart of what started me on this blogging venture last October. Alan is reffering to this bit of news from BuffaloPlace that appeared on Cynthia's BIA e-list today.

The guys over at BuffaloRising just posted
about "Demoliton by Neglect"....check it out here!
This "demolition by neglect" ordince is being sponsored by Common Council President and presumed Fillmore Avenue resident, David Franczyk. Here's a copy of the Common Council resolution regarding "demolition by neglect" that the Council passed earlier this year. Let's assume that a new ordinance that Franczyk is proposing will included substantially the same language and build upon the resolution adopted earlier.
BMHA Property... Schaeffer Brewery - Niagara Street Wollenberg Grain Elevator
click to enlarge
NYS Assemblyman Sam Hoyt has sponsored similar legislation in Albany, A-06980. I first wrote about Hoyt's preservation thing in April and again in May and referred to it again in October as Sam was called to "witness" the ironic demolition of NYS owned property on Forest Avenue. My e-mail exchange with Sam gets rather snarky so I don't want to include any thing here, yet ask yourself the simple question..."Who is going to enforce this new preservation law?" If our existing laws regarding the proper care of buildings and houses are not being enforced do you really think a new law is going to help?
Pysch Center Demolitions DSCN2234 198 Emslie DSCN1511 DSCN2164
Woodlawn Row Houses - October 2005 93 Riley - Masiello Legacy! DSCN1074 Transfiguration Church 413 Sherman
click to enlarge
Besides, both Franzcyk and Hoyt's "modest proposals" rely on a wrong interpretation of a recent case involving historic property in NYC. I wrote about the "Samuel Tredwell House" case last December. (Cool building, lots of links in that post.) Here, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Walter Tolub, used existing building code ordinaces to force compliance. He didn't use or need new preservation laws.

Alan Bedenko first picked up on my posting about "demolition by neglect" over here. He also has some kind words for my efforts to call attention to City of Buffalo's negligent ownership of historic building here in Buffalo, over here.

A new detente between David Torke and this blog has developed, so I’ll be linking to him and his efforts, which are quite noble, would do a lot of good for the city, and are do-able.

Please take a moment, next week and let your Common Council representative know that you think. Exisiting laws, properly enforced, have serious built in incentives to get negligent property owners into compliance. The decline and erosion of our 'built environment' is in an advanced state "detroitization." We need something more creative than passing new laws, that stand about as much of a chance getting enforced than our current laws. New laws are a "quick fix" that make us feel good. They don't get things done.

Let Franczyk and Hoyt know that we have enough laws.

New laws won't help. The slow, steady and regular enforcement of existing building codes will help to reverse this. Ask Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Walter Tolub. He did it in NYC. We can do it here in Buffalo...
Artspace ArchiveAnnals of NeglectBAVPAWhere is Perrysburg?Broken Promises...
Writing the CityWoodlawn Row HousesTour dé Neglect - 2006faqmy flickr

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just a note: Hoyt's bill is simply "window dressing" that enables him to say "I tried". Contact your state senator to see if you can get him/her to co-sponsor the same or similar legislation with a Republican in the NYS Senate. That's how "bills" really become laws. They need a Democratic sponsor in the Assembly and a Republican sponsor in the Senate.

Linda D.