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Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal gets final approval by city Planning Board

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This is the latest hotel rendering.
This is the back of the hotel, looking to the northwest.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Buffalo, New York — The proposed Elmwood Village Hotel got the final approval it needed from the city of Buffalo's Planning Board this morning.

In a unanimous vote, the Board approved most of the design and site plan of the hotel.

The Elmwood Village Hotel is a proposed hotel by Savarino Construction Services Corporation and is designed by architect Karl Frizlen of the Frizlen Group. It is to be placed on the corner of Elmwood and Forest Avenues in Buffalo and will require the demolition of at least five properties (1109-1121 Elmwood).

Despite the fact that today's meeting was not a "public hearing", several citizens lashed out at the Board after the approval.

"Thanks for destroying Buffalo," said one man.

"[I am] disgusted. Because they did not allow the community to speak, it is the bastardization of the concepts of justice and democracy, and that's what happened [today]," said Clarence Carnahan, a local business owner and concerned citizen, to Wikinews. He also referred to some board members as "immoral pigs."

"[I feel] frustration because no one could speak. I was going to address the displacement of all the shops that are there and that they should be grand-fathered into the new space. We did not get to say that. [I am disappointed] that they are endorsing this enormous monstrosity." said Nancy Pollina, co-owner of Don Apparel with Patty Morris at 1119 Elmwood.

Although the Board approved the hotel proposal, Savarino Construction must still go before the board to approve things such as signage and lighting. The Planning Board meets again on April 11, 2006 at 8:00a.m., but it is unknown if the hotel proposal will be on the agenda.

Lawsuits likely to be filed

Pano Georgiadis, owner of Pano's Restaurant at 1081 Elmwood and owner of 605 Forest Avenue in Buffalo, threatened to sue Savarino Construction at a public meeting on March 15, 2006 saying, "if you try to get a variance to change the code, I will sue you. This is my home, number one. If you go against city code, and you try to do the most rooms with a minimal amount of parking, again, I will sue you."

Today, Georgiadis confirmed to Wikinews that he is "definitely" suing, but that his "situation is different" as compared to others looking into legal action. "This is my property. They did it [changed the code] without my approval."

Last week, the Common Council voted and approved the rezoning of all five properties including 605 Forest.

Some are also considering taking the case to the New York State Supreme Court to "seek an injunction" and would go "pro se, meaning I am going to present the case myself," said Carnahan.

Organizers schedule another protest

Despite the approvals by the Common Council and Planning Board, organizers schedulaed another protest for Saturday April 1, 2006 at 2:00p.m. on the proposed site at Forest and Elmwood.

"We are not going to go down without a fight. We are going to go kicking and screaming," said Pollina.


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This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.