About this plan

The Queen City in the 21st Century: the Buffalo Comprehensive Plan is the one plan for the City of Buffalo. It will be the preeminent legal document guiding all development in the City of Buffalo. It will provide the policy framework for all other local planning efforts including plans for downtown, neighborhoods, the waterfront, special districts and special purposes. There may be many plans in the city but they must be consistent with the one plan for Buffalo, the Comprehensive Plan.

To give it full effect, the Comprehensive Plan must have a direct connection to the City’s capital improvement program and budget. Only then can the plan be tied directly to implementation. Indeed, only then can it be determined what resources are required to carry out the plan.

For these same reasons and according to the City’s Charter and State legislation, the plan must be formally adopted by the City through vote of the Common Council. The plan must also be subject to a Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS), as specified in the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA). In addition, the City’s zoning must be updated to be consistent with the plan.

Local plans already completed or in progress give significant depth through their incorporation into the Comprehensive Plan. These include The Queen City Hub: Regional Action Plan for Downtown, Commercial Area Revitalization Effort (CARE) Program revitalization plans by the Buffalo Economic Renaissance Corporation, the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program, the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus Master Plan, plans created through the Good Neighbors Planning Alliance and others

The Comprehensive Plan has also been created to align with other planning efforts at the regional scale. It is intended to be consistent with: the 2030 Long Range Plan of the Greater Buffalo Niagara Regional Transportation Council; the Erie Niagara Framework for Regional Growth; the Erie Niagara Regional Economic Development Strategy; the Buffalo Niagara Cultural Tourism Initiative, and other plans at the regional scale

The plan was created by the Office of Strategic Planning with the active involvement of all City departments and agencies and in consultation with officials of Erie County and other public bodies. It is based on extensive consultations with the public, including citizens who participated in the Neighborhood and Downtown Summit series, those working through the City of Buffalo’s Good Neighbors Planning Alliance, and many others

The plan is also based on thorough professional research into the current conditions of the city and on a solid understanding of planning and development precedents relevant to Buffalo’s situation. An extensive bibliography of source documents is included in the appendix

The Comprehensive Plan is not a traditional master plan. It is intended to be a general guide – not a detailed and rigid prescription – for land use, development, urban design, capital investment and related activities. Likewise, it is intended to be adaptable. The plan is also based on key Smart Growth Principles that present an opportunity for reestablishing the City as the HUB of the region. It should respond to new planning efforts or changing conditions that cannot be foreseen today. Toward this end, the City should review the plan every five years to ensure its continuing appropriateness and relevance and to make changes where necessary. Any amendments to the plan shall require a majority vote of the Common Council after a 30-day public review of the proposed changes.