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Buffalo Becomes First City to Bid Minimum Parking Goodbye

The city is overhauling its archaic zoning regulations, but does the move help its citizens as much as it helps developers?
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In overhauling its zoning code for the first time since 1953, Buffalo, New York, has become the first major city to completely remove outdated minimum parking requirements. (Other cities have done so, too, but only in certain districts or neighborhoods.) That means developers there will no longer be required to build a certain number of parking spaces for commercial and residential projects, regardless of whether there are mass transit options nearby or if the tenants even need them.

Now, according to The Buffalo News, projects above 5,000 square feet will require parking analysis that factors in alternative transportation options in the area. It’s all part of a six-year-long initiative called the Buffalo Green Code, or the the Unified Development Ordinance, which the city council unanimously passed last week and Mayor Byron W. Brown signed into law Wednesday. It rewrote the zoning and land-use regulations to make them simpler and easier to understand. The new code also follows a relatively new concept called form-based zoning, which emphasizes the relationship between public space and buildings.