The Buffalo Green Code Planning Program was a multi-year effort to implement the City’s comprehensive plan through the development of a land use plan and new city-wide zoning code. The new zoning code is the City’s first comprehensive zoning rewrite since 1953. As a form- and place-based code, the new code emphasizes walkable, mixed-use, and transit supportive neighborhoods.
Working with the prime consultant and City of Buffalo’s Office of Strategic Planning, Fisher Associates supported various components of the planning program, including evaluation of transportation infrastructure, development of the future land use policy framework, and a zoning technical assessment. In addition Fisher prepared a DGEIS (Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement) that included a build-out analysis and a transportation analysis. The Buffalo Green Code was signed by Mayor Byron Brown and adopted by the Common Council in January 2017.
After the successful completion of the Green Code Planning Program and adoption by the Common Council, Fisher Associates worked with the City of Buffalo’s Office of Strategic Planning on the Buffalo Green Code Implementation Program which involved implementation of the City’s new zoning code, the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO). The UDO replaced the City’s former ‘Euclidean’ zoning code with a form-based code focused on walkable, mixed-use, transit supportive neighborhoods.
To successfully transition from the old zoning code to the UDO, Fisher developed and executed a multi-component program that included training sessions for City staff, officials, and board members, workshops for design professionals, a UDO User’s Guide, and new zoning application forms. Fisher also prepared a Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Policy Guide that details the methods are requirements for the preparation of TDM Plans required by the UDO.
Through the carefully planned program that both informed and educated stakeholders, the successful implementation of the UDO has set a positive tone for supporting future sustainable development throughout the City of Buffalo.
The Buffalo Harbor Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) consists of approximately 1,000 acres of land along the Lake Erie shoreline extending from LaSalle Park in the north to the city line in the south. Formerly an important location for heavy industry, the BOA contains many potential brownfield sites. As part of a multi-year effort, Fisher Associates worked with the City of Buffalo Office of Strategic Planning to complete an inventory and analysis of existing conditions, develop brownfield site profiles, support the public participation effort, and prepare and finalize the Nomination Plan. Fisher also created two development concepts: the Niagara Street Interchange Concept and the Waterfront Village Infill Concept.
As part of the Buffalo Green Code Implementation Program, Fisher Associates worked with the City of Buffalo’s Office of Strategic Planning to develop the City’s first Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Policy Guide. TDM refers to a set of strategies that are designed to increase overall transportation system efficiency by encouraging fewer single-occupancy vehicle trips while emphasizing other modes of travel.
Following thorough precedent research and review, the Guide establishes the methods and requirements to ensure a project’s compliance with the TDM standards established by the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO), the City’s new form-based zoning code. The Guide includes methods and requirements for estimating travel demand, choosing and applying TDM strategies, providing accommodations for travel demand, and implementation of strategies.
The Guide, adopted by the Planning Board in March 2017, is the first in the nation to address TDM without city-wide minimum parking requirements. The Guide is being utilized by applicants on a number of high-profile projects across the City with corresponding positive impacts on surrounding neighborhoods.
Through the New York State Department of State’s Brownfield Opportunity Area Program, Fisher Associates is working with the City of Rochester’s Office of Neighborhood and Economic Development in the development of a Revitalization Plan and Urban Renewal Plan for the Bull’s Head neighborhood. Over time, the neighborhood has declined and is now characterized by a disproportionately high percentage of vacant buildings and lots, properties with documented and suspected environmental concerns, low property values, and overall disinvestment. The project includes an extensive public outreach program to engage stakeholders, an inventory and analyses of existing conditions, an economic and market trends analysis to identify opportunities for investment, identification of strategic sites to prioritize investment opportunities, and preparation of infill development concepts.
Fisher Associates is currently providing professional planning and design services for the preservation and adaptive reuse of the Matton Shipyard, located in Peebles Island State Park, Cohoes, NY. The work will include the development of a Master Plan with adaptive reuse strategies in efforts of converting the historic shipyard into a waterfront gateway for the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor (ECNHC).
Matton Shipyard was established in 1916 at the confluence of the Mohawk and Hudson Rivers on Van Schaick Island and is a rare surviving example of an early 20th century civilian ship building and repair facility. The Shipyard is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NR 09000553), and is part of Peebles Island State Park. Although the shipyard’s extant buildings have suffered neglect and recent flood damage including Hurricane Irene (2011) the site retains a remarkable degree of integrity.
The Master Plan will recommend strategies for stabilizing extant structures, reconstruction of former building and program uses for financial and operational sustainability.
Working with the City of Rochester Department of Neighborhood and Business Development, Fisher Associates examined parking and mobility assets along the dynamic and eclectic Monroe Avenue corridor. The project included a community survey that received more than 450 responses, an inventory of parking and mobility assets, an evaluation of parking supply and demand, a needs and opportunities assessment, parking and mobility recommendations, and an implementation action plan.
Public involvement was key to the goal of providing recommendations that addressed the needs of the community. Residents and visitors were provided opportunities to participate in a community survey, traditional public meetings, and public information booths during neighborhood events. With feedback from the community, each recommendation was developed to improve the function of parking and mobility while encouraging the use of other travel modes including walking, cycling and public transit. The City is now working with a committee to implement the recommendations detailed in the plan.
The Ontario County Freight Corridor Development Plan examined the opportunities for development of rail-oriented business along an existing railroad corridor connecting the Town of Manchester and the Villages of Manchester, Shortsville and Clifton Springs, New York. Fisher developed the plan as a critical step toward capitalizing on rail infrastructure assets to achieve local economic development goals by returning underutilized properties along the rail corridor to productive use. The Fisher team conducted an extensive stakeholder outreach and coordination program, inventory and analysis, and corridor suitability analysis. Concept plans were also developed for three sites in the corridor with a focus on rail-dependent uses along with an implementation action plan. Finally, the team prepared a Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS) to assess potential impacts from plan adoption and implementation.
Working with the City of Troy’s Department of Planning and Community Development, Fisher Associates completed a Downtown Parking Study with the primary objective of forecasting immediate (1-3 year) parking needs and associated accommodation strategies. The study included a community survey that received more than 350 responses, an inventory of parking and mobility assets, an evaluation of parking supply and demand, parking and mobility recommendations, and an implementation action plan. The Study recommended a series of strategies to achieve the following goals:
The study provided an accurate view of parking activity and issues in Downtown Troy in order to evaluate appropriate parking availability for current and future uses while complementing the ongoing Compre-hensive Planning effort, Realize Troy. The City is now working with a committee to implement the recommendations detailed in the plan.