Shoreline tenants want relocation plans made public

shoreline

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)- Some people living in Shoreline Apartments say they’re being kept in the dark as plans for relocation move forward.

A group of tenants petitioned the Common Council on Tuesday to put pressure on the developer and New York State to get information.

They want the relocation plans made public.

“You can’t plan your future around a question mark,” said John Schmidt, the lead organizer for the Shoreline Tenant’s Action Committee.

Norstar Development plans to tear down the 400 Shoreline apartments and build new units to replacing the aging complex.

The move was supposed to be gradual but Norstar told 172 families they needed to be out by Nov. 1. At a public meeting in May, the state and Common Council stepped in to prevent the eviction.

Norstar confirmed to News 4 that it didn’t send a written notice to tenants until this week.

“Not knowing when or if we’re going to have to move creates a constant atmosphere of fear and uncertainty among the tenants,” said Schmidt.

Norstar told News 4 that 45 tenants have moved out this summer and all signed a form saying they moved voluntarily.

Schmidt wrote a letter to the Common Council saying some tenants are being intimidated.

“The Hispanic, non-English speaking tenants, the elderly, the most vulnerable populations,” he explained.

Norstar said that never happened and they have emphatically told people they don’t need to move by Nov. 1.

Schmidt also wrote in the letter that he wants the relocation plan to be submitted to the Common Council and made public for tenants to comment on.

We asked Norstar for a response. They told News 4 they’ve been working all summer with the state on the relocation plan but they can’t release details until the NYS Division of Homes and Community Renewal approves it.

They said when they get approval, Norstar representatives will meet with tenants and go over the plan. If they decide with tenants that changes need to be made, they’ll ask the state for adjustments.

HCR has not provided News 4 a timeline for when they expect to approve the relocation plan.

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