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The West End Project Redesigned to Meet Neighbor Concerns

by Taken from Buffalo Rising
Thu, Jul 5th 2018 08:00 am

In an effort to appease neighbors' objections, Ciminelli Real Estate Corporation has once again revised its plans for a residential project in Waterfront Village. Ciminelli has eliminated previously-proposed condominium buildings and is now planning only townhomes for the site.

Ciminelli was named designated developer for the vacant City-owned parcel at 240-260 Lakefront Boulevard in early-2015. The development team has been tweaking its plans since after neighbors continued to push back over its plans. The 2.4- acre site is one of the last remaining parcels in Waterfront Village and was always designated for development.

Ciminelli's original plan called for a condominium building close to the waterfront and ten townhouses along Lakefront Boulevard. It was later revised to flip the units: a five-story, 20-unit condo building along Lakefront and ten townhouses closer to the water. Residents objected to the project's height, layout, and blocked views. 

Last year, Ciminelli eliminated the condominium building and replaced it with four smaller buildings, each with six units and seven three-story townhouses.  Neighbors were still not pleased. In December, the Waterfront Village Advisory Council (WVAC) sent a letter to the Mayor and other City officials outlining their concerns with the project. Their issues involved setbacks and density, and wanted a reduced height "to conform with neighboring properties in the Waterfront Village."

The newly-revised plan, prepared by Carmina Wood Morris, calls for eight three-story townhouses between the Marina Park and Portside developments, a green space along Erie Basin Marina, and three, four-unit townhouse buildings along Lakefront Boulevard and Ojibwa Circle where the condominium buildings were previously proposed.

Proposed exteriors would include stone veneer, cementitious panels, and wood clad windows.

Ciminelli Real Estate outlined the changes in a letter to the Waterfront Village Advisory Council dated July 2 saying the revisions "demonstrate our sincere, continued efforts to work with the community and address their concerns."

The WVAC asked for a reduction in the number of units from 31 to 28. Ciminelli is now proposing 20. WVAC wanted the townhouses not to exceed 39 feet and the project will not exceed that. WVAC requested the townhouses setback from the waterfront to expand from 100 feet to 130 feet. The new proposal is at 115 feet.

WVAC wanted landscaping changes to preserve views to the water. Ciminelli has agreed to strategically locate street trees and replace previously-proposed trees with low shrubs at the townhomes off Lakefront Boulevard and the property line of Marina Park to maintain views. WVAC requested each unit have two parking spaces and additional parking for guests and snow storage. The Ciminelli proposal calls for each townhouse to have a two-car garage, driveway parking in front of the garage, five guest parking spaces near the project entrance, and areas to store snow.

Ciminelli is expected to present its project to the Zoning Board on July 18 and the Planning Board July 30. A resident-only meeting is scheduled to be held on July 12 to review the revised plans.

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