Campaign Acts to Protect the Law that Protects Landmarks
June 30, 2016
The Campaign for Greater Buffalo History, Architecture and Culture has filed a lawsuit in State Supreme Court challenging the Buffalo Common Council’s summary rejection of three landmark designation applications lon May 10th. The Campaign complaint charges that the Council, as the City Code requires, must provide valid reasons for rejecting applications, and those must be according to the standards established by the City Code.
The Campaign is also seeking an injunction against the demolition of the three properties in question, The Bachelor Apartment Building, the North Park Library, and the Pratt Street Industrial Heritage Area. Also named in the suit are the Ellicott Development Company and the Crosby Company.
The case has been assigned to Judge Catherine Nugent Panepinto, and has been scheduled to be heard on July 21. The Campaign is monitoring all three sites and will seek a temporary restraining order if any demolition seems imminent before the case can be heard.
“In not addressing the merits of the Preservation Board’s decision, the Council is acting arbitrarily, and in a way that is harmful not only to the properties involved , but in a way that erodes public confidence in the Council’s ability to safeguard the city’s cultural resources,” said Tim Tielman, Executive Director of the Campaign. “There is no credible protection for a city’s historic resources if a council or an administration can take such arbitrary action. It utterly undermines the landmarks law and the Preservation Board. The Preservation Board exists to provide expert, objective decisions removed from politics or whimsy. Citizens will see the decisions as politically motivated, and the preservation process as just another system that can be gamed. We have no choice but to take action.”
The Bachelor Building is an 1886 apartment building at Franklin and Tupper streets, designed by Green & Wicks, Buffalo’s most accomplished architectural firm.
The North Park Branch Library, at the corner of Delaware and Hertel avenues, is the work of prolific City Architect Howard Beck, who also deigned the grounds.
The Pratt Street Industrial Heritage Area, at Pratt and William streets, includes buildings constructed for distilleries, malthouses, and the Crosby metal stamping company fro the mid-1800’s to the early 1900’s.
All are threatened with demolition, the Bachelor Building for a parking ramp, the Pratt Street buildings because of benign neglect, and the North Park Library for a retail building.