Local environmentalists looking to bar former Freezer Queen development

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Buffalo’s Common Council and its planning board circumvented environmental laws and “fast-tracked” a plan that would turn the former Freezer Queen building into a 23-story condominium complex on the city’s Outer Harbor, according to a lawsuit filed in state Supreme Court.

The request for a judgement, an Article 78 petition, was filed Monday on behalf of local environmentalists Margaret Wooster, Jay Burney, Jr., Lynda Stephens and James Carr.

The petition requests the court to set aside all decisions on the proposed Queen City Landing made by the city’s planning board and council. It questions the authority of both the planning board and the Common Council to make decisions leading up to and including the Queen City’s final proposal.

Common Council approved the project last week.

Queen City Landing bought the 20-acre property for $3 million in November 2007. It’s plans include 199 apartments, two restaurants, a fitness facility and separate parking garage. The petition mentions previous failed attempts to turn the former Freezer Queen building into a mixed use development.

The petitioners argue the proposed development is located in flood plain and near fishing grounds and that it would disrupt migratory patterns of birds and increase traffic.

A request by the petitioners for Justice Donna Siwek for a temporary restraining order to stop any work from beginning at the site was denied this week.

Representatives for Queen City Landing said Wednesday the petition would not affect progress on the project, which could start “soon.” That work includes environmental remediation demolition of the former Freezer Queen building.

Gerald Buchheit, Jr., Queen City Landing’s executive officer, said he hopes to have the project complete by the end of 2017.


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