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VACANT PROPERTIES ASSET MANAGEMENT STRATEGY

Contact Guide
Contact Topic Number/Email/Web City of Buffalo department and agency contact information is available on the web at http://www.city-buffalo.com
Mayor’s Complaint Line

Central contact for vacant property maintenance and mowing concerns, abandoned vehicles, trash pick-up, recycling Making Houses Homes - Housing rehab, loan and new housing programs services and referrals Buffalo Economic Renaissance Corporation (BERC) and other economic development programs, services and referrals Comprehensive Plan, city and regional plans, and Good Neighbors Planning Alliance In rem properties, city-owned vacant property information, Urban Homestead Program Site Plan Review, SEQRA reviews, NYSHPPO review Preservation planning, permits affecting proposed work on historic structures and in designated districts Building and construction code standards and fees, court and fines House, building and facility inspections Important contacts for: Emergency numbers Social services Medical services Community services Consumer services Government services Election districts Regional service information Lending, foreclosure prevention, credit card debt Emergencies only Non-emergencies

716-851-4890 Online form at: http://www.citybuffalo.com/document_1700.html 716-851-5035 Please call for contacts and instructions

Office of Strategic Planning (OSP)

OSP – Community Planning OSP - Real Estate OSP – Planning Board OSP – Preservation Board
Permits and Inspections

716-851-5035 716-851-5275 716-851-5086 716-851-5029

716-851-4925 Changes to permit process and links to ePermits and fees: http://www.citybuffalo.com/document_2008_127.html 716-851-5555 Printed and digital directories available www.wnyservices.org

Central Referral Services

Buffalo Don’t Borrow Trouble Project Police – Fire – Ambulance City of Buffalo Police

1-866-375-0408 toll free 716-954-7625 911 853-2222

VACANT PROPERTIES ASSET MANAGEMENT STRATEGY

T able of Contents
Summary _____________________________________________________________________1 An Asset Management Approach __________________________________________________4 A Comprehensive Framework ____________________________________________________6 Redevelopment and Reuse _____________________________________________________6 Strategy Checkpoint: Forward Momentum _______________________________________9 Principles and Practices ________________________________________________________10 General ___________________________________________________________________10 Systems Support ____________________________________________________________16 Financial Support ___________________________________________________________19 City-Owned Properties Dispersal ______________________________________________22 Clean, Safe & Green _________________________________________________________24 Appendices Appendix 1 – Maps 1-3 ______________________________________________________30 Appendix 2 – Strategy Objectives and Tasks Summary Table ________________________33 Appendix 3 – Selected Comprehensive Planning Asset Layers _______________________34 Appendix 4 – Vacant Property Cost Estimate Examples_____________________________37 Appendix 5 - Vacant Property Asset Management Elements & Flow Charts _____________42 Appendix 6 – Vacant Lot Homesteading Proposal, Priority Areas _____________________54 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS___________________________________________________57 BIBLIOGRAPHY __________________________________________________________59

Project Sponsors ~
The Vacant Land, Buildings and Facilities Asset Management Project funding partners include The City of Buffalo, Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency, Cornell Cooperative Extension Association of Erie County, Cornell University Cooperative Extension – Community and Economic Vitality, and Cornell University Community and Rural Development Institute. The strategy document was prepared by Darlene Vogel, Community Educator, Cornell University Cooperative Extension Association of Erie County.

Cornell Cooperative Extension Association of Erie County and Cornell University provide equal program and employment opportunities.

VACANT PROPERTIES ASSET MANAGEMENT STRATEGY

Summary
Vacant Properties Asset Management Strategy
The Vacant Properties Asset Management Strategy is an extension of the work performed under the City of Buffalo Vacant Land, Buildings and Facilities Asset Management Project, 2004. The foundation and supporting details of this Strategy can be found in a report bearing the same title. The Vacant Properties Asset Management Strategy is designed to accommodate several important factors currently at the forefront. It is a strategy built on a Comprehensive planning framework. It is a strategy that is consistent with Smart Growth principles. It is a strategy that is mindful of the fiscal conditions of the City of Buffalo. The strategy recommends no new programming, and relies on backto-basic services, reallocation of resources and community collaboration. The strategy identifies major costs and potential savings associated with vacant property and an asset management strategy. Current estimates put vacant land of all types around 13,000 or more than 13% of the total number of parcels in the city. This figure represents more than 10% or 3,000 acres (1,200 hectares) of the land area within the city. Approximately 8,500 vacant properties are privately owned, and about 4,000 are city-owned. To further heighten the urgency of action, 1998 neighborhood conditions analysis estimates a surplus or vacancy of 22,290 residential units. Some of these vacancies include vacant residential structures, and other excess units having the potential to become abandoned structures or lots if reuse options are not established for them.1 Estimates put the current number of vacant structures around 4,000. Nearly 5,000 demolitions have occurred or were planned from 1996 through 2003. See Appendix 1 – Maps 1-3 for the general distribution of vacant property and demolition activity.2 The primary GOALS of a vacant properties asset management strategy as determined through the Vacant Land, Buildings and Facilities Asset Management Project include: ! ! ! Slowing the rate at which properties become vacant. Managing existing and future vacant properties. Returning vacant properties to appropriate, functional, and revenue generating, or cost-saving uses.

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City of Buffalo, City of Buffalo Master Plan, Phase I: Community /Neighborhood Conditions Summary, November 1998, Appendix E. City of Buffalo Office of Strategic Planning, data and mapping, 12/09/04.

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Vacant land, buildings and facilities asset management should reinforce the CITY VISION to: ! ! ! ! Repopulate residential areas. Rebuild the industrial base. Revitalize commercial areas. Maintain and enhance green and open space to support the preceding three.

and future development costs over time. The City Administration has been identified as the sector of the community having the key position and capacity to most impact vacant property asset management at this point in time. With the present number of existing vacant properties, and the potential number of future vacant properties, it is currently the agent in control over most of the systems and processes that impact the balance of the community. Most of the vacant property recommendations and proposed solutions provided by project participants 2003/04 have elements that must flow through the City Administration by virtue of policy, planning, processes and procedures, local legislation and the city charter, New York State municipal law, and funding. It is therefore a high priority that the proper systems and mechanisms are in place, properly used, changed where allowed, and redistributed throughout the community where not mandated or legislated. The most limiting factor at this time is funding. Sample estimates indicate that vacant property direct costs associated only with residential properties could cost $5.9 million annually across a variety of city departments. An exercise using residential demolition estimates combined with vacant lot maintenance and mowing estimates indicates the potential cost to the city of $40 million over 5 years using optimistic reduction goals. These costs do not include annual allocations for indirect costs and equipment.

Comprehensive planning and redevelopment initiatives establish the framework for vacant property redevelopment and reuse for any area or parcel in the City, and are powerful assets that affect the value and potential of vacant properties. Comprehensive planning guidance links social and environmental issues with land use decisions and asset management. It is through comprehensive planning that communities are better able to focus their available resources and attain their development goals. Vacant properties must be included as an available resource, and included in municipal management systems for their economic development potential, and to minimize liability and costs. Because of the magnitude of the current and future anticipated numbers of vacant properties, systems should be developed or modified to reduce the number of vacant properties, slow their proliferation, and funnel them into productive uses. This will entail: ! Maintaining and expanding the city’s capacity to manage, market, and redevelop the properties. Planning in realistic timeframes and factoring in interim property treatments and maintenance, Creating the climate to save and control costs through budgeting and partner financing to reflect baseline vacant property management costs

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Strategy Principles and Practices

A complete description of strategy objectives and tasks can be found in the Principles and Practices Section and a summary table in Appendix 2.

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Systems Support ! Objective: Establish, promote and educate around a policy of comprehensive planning and the benefits of adhering to such a policy and plans. Objective: Market all vacant properties in a comprehensive manner

City-Owned Facilities Dispersal ! Objective: Reduce the inventory of city-owned property to conserve neighborhood resources, generate sales revenue, increase the tax role, minimize maintenance costs and minimize liability.

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Clean, Safe and Green ! Objective: Vacant Property Sanitation, Blight Removal, Neighborhood Safety and Conservation

Financial Support ! Objective: Create the environment to save and control costs through budgeting and partner financing to reflect baseline vacant property management costs and future vacant property development costs over time.

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An Asset Management Approach
An asset management STRATEGY for vacant properties can form the foundation for more detailed, site-specific recommendations and best practices for the productive, economical, and sustainable development, maintenance, and monitoring of the various types of vacant land, buildings and facilities within the City of Buffalo. The primary GOALS of a vacant properties asset management strategy as determined through the Vacant Land, Buildings and Facilities Asset Management Project include: ! ! ! Slowing the rate at which properties become vacant. Managing existing and future vacant properties. Returning vacant properties to appropriate, functional, and revenue generating, or cost-saving uses. property inclusive of land, buildings and facilities. The asset management strategy presumes some form of centralized, municipal oversight. It must also include the guidance provided by the City of Buffalo Comprehensive Plan currently under development, and all of the allied initiatives, area plans and sub-plans included in the comprehensive plan. The cost of implementing any part of the strategy is dependent on the number and degree of the recommendations and best practices selected. The justification for an asset management strategy should be weighed in favor of avoided costs, future cost savings derived from efficiencies and the reduction of vacant properties, and eventual investment throughout the community. Current estimates put vacant land of all types around 13,000 or more than 13% of the total number of parcels in the city. This figure also represents more than 10% or 3,000 acres (1,200 hectares) of the land area within the city. Approximately 8,500 vacant properties are privately owned, and about 4,000 are city-owned. To further heighten the urgency of action, 1998 neighborhood conditions analysis estimates a surplus or vacancy of 22,290 residential units. Some of these vacancies include vacant residential structures and others have the potential to become abandoned structures or lots if reuse options are not established for them. Project estimates put the current number of vacant structures around 4,000. See Appendix 1

Vacant land, buildings and facilities asset management should reinforce the CITY VISION to: ! ! ! ! Repopulate residential areas. Rebuild the industrial base. Revitalize commercial areas. Maintain and enhance green and open space to support the preceding three.

The asset management approach is broad in that it strives to integrate all of the parties involved in the various aspects of vacant property, and that it encompasses the entire life cycle of a

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– Maps 1-3 for the general distribution of vacant property and demolition activity.3 The vacant property asset management strategy has two major components. The first component recognizes the life cycle of a property in a set of 7 elements that are both continuous (1 through 3) and cyclic (4 through 8). The second major component is Element 4 in its entirety – Preliminary Evaluation and Asset Review. There are seven asset layers described to aid in the evaluation of vacant property and provide guidance towards reuse and redevelopment. The layers include: paper layers, buildings and facilities, green infrastructure, infrastructure/utilities, land/at grade, land/sub-grade, and surrounding land use and conditions. To aid in decision-making, the asset manage cycle elements and asset layers are tied together in a flow chart for decision-making. See Appendix 5 for Elements and Flow Chart excerpts from Vacant Land, Buildings and Facilities Asset Management Project Report.

Asset Management Strategy
All Properties, continuous: 1. COMMUNICATION & INFORMATION 2. MONITORING 3. PREVENTION & INTERVENTION _____________________________ The Subject Property: 4. PRELIMINARY EVALUATION ASSET LAYER REVIEW 5. CONSERVATION REHABILITATION PRESERVATION RESOURCE RECOVERY 6. REMEDIATION 7. DEMOLITION 8. VACANT LAND REUSE OR CONVERSION REPEAT

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City of Buffalo Office of Strategic Planning, data and mapping, 12/09/04.

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A Comprehensive Framework
Redevelopment and Reuse Strategy Checkpoint: Forward Momentum

Redevelopment and Reuse
Vacant property analysis and redevelopment planning should be performed in the context of redevelopment policies, plans and initiatives for the city and region. Vacant property characterization and potential can be viewed from a perspective of assets and opportunities. The existing or potential utility of a property can be derived from its redevelopment context. Therefore, the current and future opportunities are with those initiatives that can leverage the redevelopment of vacant property resources. Vacant property analysis should be performed in the context of redevelopment for neighborhoods, business, mixed use, commercial, industrial, recreational and environmental policies, plans and projects. Occasionally, the vacant parcel may be better recognized as “natural capital” (open space, flood plain, etc.) with minimum traditional redevelopment value. The ability to classify vacant property according to its potential highest and best use, including open space, founded on community consensus can

better position the city for sustainable redevelopment. Comprehensive planning, such as the City of Buffalo comprehensive plan currently in the draft review process, should be used as the platform for reinvestment and the eventual zoning changes that will provide the framework for vacant property redevelopment. The draft comprehensive plan and its component plans offer a number of starting places that can be further refined by including the other subsets of planning and development layers (assets) assigned to a specific geographic area. This exercise can be done for each major planning overlay to set a preliminary designation for all existing and future vacant property. Rezoning according to these new patterns should follow the comprehensive plan adoption to assure that the redevelopment of vacant land is optimized and congruous with community goals. This will ease the pressure of nonconformity and save time and effort over multiple, compromising spot zoning exercises. The sustainable, economical and productive conservation, development and management of vacant properties of all kinds impacts, and is impacted by, the quality of schools and neighborhoods, economic conditions, and investment in business and industry development. The

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following comprehensive planning and redevelopment initiatives are powerful assets that affect the value and potential of vacant properties, and that establish the framework for vacant property redevelopment and reuse for any area or parcel in the City. Comprehensive Planning and Redevelopment Assets Citywide ! Queen City in the 21st Century, Buffalo’s Comprehensive Plan, draft edition issued December 2004 Designated Economic Redevelopment Areas Good Neighbors Planning Alliance – Planning Communities Lives Zones (key retail strips) Phase I Schools and Neighborhood (1/2 mi. radius) “Rethinking Niagara, Cultural Attractions in Buffalo” Historic Landmarks and Districts (1/4 mi. radius) Waterfront Nodal Analysis Green Infrastructure; Protected, Unprotected, Potential Buffalo Greenways Parks Ellicott, Olmsted and the Water Renewal Communities and Empire Zones Brownfields “The New Downtown” Transportation Improvement Projects 2004-05 Bike Paths Gateways

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Vacant Land Around Historic Districts Strategic Investment Corridors “Good Neighbors Planning Alliance” Community /Neighborhood Plans (10) – In progress “Queen City HUB: Regional Action Plan for Downtown Buffalo,” 2003 “A Housing Strategy for the City of Buffalo: Livable Communities Initiative,” 2004 “A Plan for Ellicott Radials” “Olmsted Parks and Parkways Plan,” In Progress Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan, Draft 2004 The Waterfront Corridor Initiative Peace Bridge Expansion Plan, In Progress Community Preservation Plan, In Progress Comprehensive Environmental Plan, In Progress

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Area-Specific ! ! ! Community/Economic Development initiatives Renewal Communities in Buffalo Community Area Revitalization Effort (CARE) Areas – revitalization of older neighborhood retail areas Specific Historic Preservation Districts Home Opportunity Zones Urban Renewal Planning Areas, multiple “City of Buffalo Green Infrastructure Report” – ecological features, environmental problems areas, recreational opportunities, and

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distinctive character (historical, archaeological) Special Zoning Districts ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! Transit Station Area District Elmwood Avenue Business District Allen Street District Special Delaware Review District Hertel Avenue District Porter-Busti District Seneca Street District Kensington-Bailey District Buffalo Coastal Special Review District Buffalo River Open Space Corridor Niagara River Coastal Special Review District Hamlin Park Overlay Review District (Historic) Downtown Area Zone or Downtown Opportunity District

Asset Matrix and Mapping

The concept of a Comprehensive Planning and Redevelopment Asset Matrix was tested with representatives from the Administrative Track. The exercise was very productive in that it focused redevelopment discussions to take advantage of the very things that the asset layer was intended to produce through 20 years. This long-term view of redevelopment takes into account many practical constraints, the most fundamental of which is having the resources necessary to redevelop everything that currently requires attention. The other realization that occurs with a long-term, limited resources point of view, is that interim measures will be required to stabilize all of the vacant property available before its value appreciates in most areas of the city. The utility of the matrix approach is multiple. It can be used to more easily communicate the potential uses and reuses of a vacant property that are consistent with a planning or development asset layer. This can be important especially among and between Good Neighbors Planning Alliance planning areas. It can also be used to refine options for parcels that may have more than one applicable asset layer. Redevelopment cost estimates can be made for common reuses in an area, especially interim vacant lot treatments. Appendix 3 includes descriptions and attributes for sample planning layers in the proposed draft comprehensive plan. Mapping an area to include combinations of asset layers can aid in visualizing relationships, linkages, gaps and potential redevelopment schemes for vacant properties. The draft comprehensive plan illustrates this effect citywide by co-mapping 3 layers – Strategic Investment Corridors, and Ellicott, Olmsted, and the Water – in a single “Strategic Corridors” map. See Appendix 3.

Regional ! ! ! “Erie Niagara Framework for Regional Growth,” In Progress “Erie Niagara Regional Economic Development Strategy” Greater Buffalo-Niagara Regional Transportation Council 2025 Long Range Plan for Erie and Niagara Counties Transit Oriented Development (TOD) planning for metro rail stations Buffalo Niagara Cultural Tourism Initiative

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Strategy Checkpoint: Forward Momentum
What is progress? Brookings 10 Steps to Urban Land Reform Checklist4 ! ! ! Are we getting to know our territory? Are we developing a citywide approach to redevelopment? Are we implementing neighborhood plans in partnership with community stakeholders? Are we making government effective? Are we creating a legal framework for sound redevelopment? Are we creating marketplace opportunities? Are we financing redevelopment? Are we building on natural and historic assets? Are we being sensitive to gentrification and relocation issues? Are we organized for success?

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Adapted from Paul C. Brophy and Jennifer S. Vey, “Seizing City Assets: Ten Steps to Urban Land Reform,” Oct. 2002, The Brookings Institution and CEO’s for Cities. [Also online] WWW: www.brookings.org

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Principles and Practices
General Systems Support Financial Support City-Owned Facilities Dispersal Clean, Safe and Green

General
Attainment of Goals: Time, Costs, Capacity

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Maintaining and expanding the city’s capacity to manage, market, and redevelop the properties. Planning in realistic timeframes and factoring in interim property treatments and maintenance. Creating the climate to save and control costs through budgeting and partner financing to reflect baseline vacant property management costs and future development costs over time.

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The strategy objectives and tasks are immediate, near-term (1-2 years) and mid-term (2-5 years) in nature. Within 10 years, and with the goal to arrest deterioration within that span, the City could expect the number of vacant properties to peak and then begin to decline. This is barring any further major economic setbacks that would impact the City and Region. Realigning and refocusing municipal and community resources before this peak is critical, and is necessary within the next 24 months to keep pace with the problem of vacant properties and related social and economic issues. Because of the magnitude of the current and future anticipated numbers of vacant properties, systems should be developed or modified to reduce the number of vacant properties, slow their proliferation, and funnel them into productive uses. This will entail:

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Comprehensive planning guidance links social and environmental issues with land use decisions and asset management. It is through comprehensive planning that communities are better able to focus their available resources and attain their development goals. Vacant properties must be included as an available resource, and included in municipal management systems for their economic development potential, and to minimize liability and costs.

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Comprehensive planning trends and forecasting identify 10 major land use opportunities in addition to housing that the community, business and industry can engage. ! Healthcare and social assistance, including medical research and bioinformatics Manufacturing Education Professional and related services Finance, insurance and real estate Retail Tourism Transportation and warehousing Information and knowledge based commerce Public administration

Vacant Residential 5-Yr Example A hypothetical, typical residential property, 5-year example has been provided to illustrate the direct costs associated with property abandonment. A table in Appendix 4 shows activities and costs normally associated with abandonment, nuisance response, inspections, demolition, vacant property maintenance and mowing, and foregone taxes. The example, using conservative costs, is spread over 5 years and assumes non-compliance by the owner and eventual demolition in year 4. Vacant Residential 5-Year Example
Services, labor Materials and demolition Taxes, unpaid Total Cost, yrs. 1-5 $1,825 $8,520 $1,504 $11,849

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Incorporating vacant properties into these opportunities will include renovation, demolition, reclamation, interim uses, possible relocations, and related long-term considerations built into redevelopment project timelines and costs. It is important to establish real costs over time to assure that development opportunities and risks are equitably borne by city government, the community and development partners. At first examination, the added cost of incorporating vacant properties into redevelopment initiatives may seem prohibitive. The following examples imply that city and regional government services, therefore taxpayers, are currently subsidizing the nondevelopment of vacant properties potentially in the amount of millions of dollars annually.

(2003/04)

In practice, there are many cases that take less time and effort to resolve, and many cases that take more. The actual costs vary by circumstances and the complexity of ownership issues. Because the example ends with the private lot in a vacant idle condition, there were no costs added for reuse by neighbors or the community. The significance of the example is in the number of abandoned and vacant properties that currently exist and the number anticipated for the future. To take the example a step further, assuming there are 500 residential properties in this cycle at any given time, the annual cost to the city could be $5.9 million dollars per year distributed over a number of municipal activities and departments. Again, the real challenge

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as explained throughout this strategy is the number of accumulated “properties of all types in the pipe” and the time it takes to resolve ownership issues due to regulatory constraints. Citywide 5-Year Residential Demolition and Maintenance Estimates The 5-Year Residential Demolition and Maintenance Estimate in Appendix 4 is an attempt to understand the financial impact of two city-based activities residential demolition, and maintenance and mowing on existing and resulting vacant residential lots. The scenario applies 2004 costs to residential demolitions and vacant residential lot maintenance and mowing. It optimistically assumes there is a net annual reduction of 500 city-owned and privately owned vacant lots per year each through sale or development. It also assumes total demolitions of 4,250 city-owned properties (property transferred to the city for demolition) and 250 emergency private properties. Assuming that the city is able to recover 100% of its costs billed to private owners, the total net cost for these activities over 5 years is estimated to be more than $40 million. The estimates show the affect of aggressive demolition goals and the resulting potential net impact on maintenance and mowing responsibilities. Private property is included in the estimates to demonstrate potential costs to the city of intervening in emergency residential demolitions and noncompliant property maintenance. A 100% cost recovery goal for services provided to private property owners becomes extremely important with such large numbers involved. It is not realistic, however, given the financial status of most property owners in these circumstances. If the other direct costs, such as those itemized in Vacant Residential 5-Year

Example, are added to demolition and mowing and maitenance costs, the resulting numbers reinforce the need to recognize and treat vacant property management as a legitimate cost center distributed over a significant portion of the city departments and agencies. Similar types of costs exist for vacant commercial and industrial properties and should be added to the residential estimates to provide the total picture. Demolition costs will vary widely by property type, size and condition. In summary, these costs are a major competitor with other city government and community goals for funding and municipal resources. Summary: Citywide 5-Yr Residential Demolition and Maintenance Example
City demos 4,250 $31,875,000 8,662,500 $40,537,500 250 1,875,000 3,965,400 $ 5,840,400

Maintenance/mowing TTL City Private demos

Maintenance/mowing TTL charge to owners

Other Important Government and Community Costs Not Factored In the Examples The presence of vacant property can have an immediate effect that depresses the resale value of adjacent properties. As the number of vacant properties increases in a neighborhood, depressed real estate values have spilled into adjacent neighborhood. The presence of a neighboring abandoned house can cause an insurer to raise rates or drop an insured homeowner even though the legality of

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this practice is in question. The rationale for increasing the cost of homeowners insurance or dropping the homeowner altogether is the increased fire risk presented by the vacant property or structures. The homeowner insurance controversy has pushed some owners into requesting that the vacant house affecting their insurance rates or status be demolished. The presence of vacant properties poorly or not maintained diminishes the local quality of life and can further attract nuisance and destructive behavior. These are reflected in reduced physical activity, increased health problems, crime, and the cost of remedial social programs targeted to areas having high numbers of vacant properties. The progressive decline commonly results in a loss of confidence in municipal governance and assistance efforts. Vacant Property and People Is vacant property a cause or effect of social problems? How are poverty, unemployment, crime, and substance abuse, deteriorating housing stock, sprawl, etc. related to vacant properties? Who or what is responsible for solving these problems and how much will it cost? These questions, and the sense of loss and frustration that accompanies them, are at the center of the confusion and conflicts associated with vacant property problem solving. And what does the vacant properties asset management strategy propose? The strategy proposes to both separate and coordinate doing what government and the community do best. The community, for the purpose of this discussion, is all of the people who live, work and recreate within the city, along with its economic, education and cultural components. Government is the City of Buffalo executive, legislative, and judicial

branches, plus its related agencies and authorities. The “back to basics” message is a practical theme that harkens back to the necessity – due to limited resources in challenging times – of providing basic government services better and more efficiently, leveraging existing government and community capital (social and financial) to attain goals, and eliminating redundant services among and between government and the community. The effectiveness and efficiency of vacant property asset management processes and procedures is impacted by many factors: ! ! ! ! ! ! The number of vacant properties Property ownership issues City budgets and funding Staffing levels Regulatory and legal requirements Organizational systems and technology

There has been substantial progress recently due to increased focus and commitment on the city’s part to tackle various aspects that include procedures, processes and practices. The first example include the use of “orders to vacate” through City Housing Court to remove and prosecute persons occupying vacant properties. The second example is the city’s vacant lot maintenance and mowing plan. In its second year of operation, Streets and Sanitation was able clean and mow over 6,000 vacant lots in the Ellicott, Masten and Fillmore Districts at least three times each, with no overtime costs. Reorganizing work crews and assigning them to regular areas to establish a familiarity with the locations and required work patterns accomplished their goals. The third example is the City’s proposed revised Urban Homestead Program

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provisions for vacant lots. A summary of this proposal is in Appendix 6. In further support of comprehensive planning, comprehensive planning is where government and community merge quite naturally. A comprehensive plan sets the physical, geographic stage for land use that originates in a community’s social, economic and environmental objectives. City government provides many of the tools for decision-making and community building through this process that the community can use in neighborhood or area plans and development projects. Community momentum and participation are what activates and drives progress based on the planning framework, either independently or with government technical assistance. Public and Private Property The federal and state constitutions and federal, state and local laws confer rights, powers, procedures and restrictions regarding property on people and governments. The nature and extent of specific rights and laws are mirrored in what we see in terms of progress, or not, that is aimed at conserving neighborhood resources and removing blighted structures. There are legal processes for condemning, transferring to public ownership, and the eventual property sale or transfer. These processes are designed to protect private property rights, and in doing so, require extensive notification and hearing steps. This is the most common reason for delays in demolition, other than funding limitations. Though 3 vacant houses may stand in a row, it is not always possible to remove them simultaneously because they are in different stages in the process. Owner notification requirements, and the task of finding the legal owner, are the most common causes for uneven progress in a location. Additional funding and staffing could increase the number of properties

“in process”, but may not speed up the most difficult cases. Targeted legislative reforms to address every difficult case would require substantial municipal and community commitment, but may be possible longer-term solutions. With respect to vacant lots, the City Charter assigns the responsibility of mowing city-owned lots to Streets and Sanitation. Private owners are responsible for the condition of their vacant lots. Citywide, approximately 1/3 of the vacant lots are city owned – the balance, about 8,500 lots, are the responsibility of private owners. The cost examples showed the financial burden of maintain both public lots and a portion of the private lots. Together, however, the city and community need to decide if this is the most efficient way to address the problem and whether or not the city can afford to subsidize noncompliant property owners. See Clean, Safe and Green section. Once the city gains ownership of vacant lot, building or facility there are a limited number of options available. The city, however, cannot legally give away or gift public property to a private entity. The most productive current option is to sell it for a productive reuse and get the property back on the tax role. The sale of public property also has a process to be followed that includes public notice and approvals. Viable houses and lots can be sold in exchange for rehabilitation through local housing programs. Less commonly, vacant properties can also be leased or rented. Temporary and conditional community uses, such as community gardens, can be arranged through a rental arrangement with Buffalo’s Grassroots Gardens. Vacant properties in Strategic Investment Areas are bundled and retained for large-scale redevelopment. What We Do Best The city government can best use its authorities and capacity to provide the

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community with the information, tools and resources to build on its assets and redevelop vacant properties. This includes improving the systems related to vacant properties asset management, and extending partnerships throughout the community and region. The community, including the private business sector, can best use its creativity, talents, expertise, and energy to focus on the social aspects associated with to vacant property, especially housing. This includes, but is certainly not limited to, housing abandonment prevention and intervention, connecting people with programs and assistance that address wellness and poverty, and aggressively pursuing clean and green neighborhoods. See Clean, Safe and Green section. Coordinating government and community resources is essential to goal attainment – and communication is key. It is very important to communicate neighborhood level knowledge and conditions to government and within the community. This information should be used to deploy government and community resources and technical assistance, and to monitor progress. The exact information content, the format of the information, the benefits of centralizing reporting and dissemination, and timeliness are all factors for consideration in vacant property asset management. See Systems Support section. The strategy objectives and tasks in the form of recommendations and best practices were selected from the Vacant Land, Buildings and Facilities Asset Management Project and subsequent work with the project’s Administrative Track. The strategy recommendations and best practices apply to the City of Buffalo in its current condition, with consideration for its current and future assets.

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to maintain the greatest number of properties on the tax role possible.

Systems Support
Objective: Establish, educate, and promote around a policy of comprehensive planning and the benefits of adhering to such a policy and plans.
Task S 1.0 – Policy development and monitoring

This team should have an ad hoc community advisory group that includes Good Neighbors Planning Alliance and key community representatives. To maintain continuity and increase effectiveness, a city staff person dedicated to at least half time to this initiative should coordinate the team. Immediate/On-going; $Staff/Community volunteers
Task S 3.0 – Comprehensive plan approval and rezoning update

Policies should be re-evaluated, updated, or developed to reflect city and community-wide redevelopment goals. Such policies should be widely communicated in a manner to aid redevelopment and to promote solidarity of efforts. Routinely screen proposed policies, initiatives, projects, and their revisions, using Smart Growth and International City Management Association Principles at key stages: Proposal, Impact Studies, Share with Stakeholders, Assessments, Performance Evaluations, etc. Immediate/On-going; $No cost
Task S 2.0 – Establish and maintain vacant property team

Proceed with rezoning after the adoption of the comprehensive plan to assure that: 1) A range of creative and compatible vacant property reuses are allowed, especially in areas having multiple planning layers. 2) Zoning should allow interim uses such as green space, urban forests and limited recreation within residential and mixed use designations. 3) Zoning should recommend increased green and open space minimum development requirements to improve ratios around schools and in areas not meeting recreation access ratios. 4) Community gardening and urban agriculture uses should be added uses to improve urban food security access. 5) Those areas designated for industrial investment are not designated as residential or other incompatible uses. Immediate/1-2 yrs; $Included with comprehensive planning and zoning development.

Establish and support a multi-disciplined, representative team to regularly coordinate, review, and advise on policy, plans, local regulation, procedures and funding involved in or affecting vacant property asset management. Plans and actions involving or impacting vacant properties, city-owned and private, must be centrally coordinated to optimize effectiveness, maximize the use of limited resources, and support citywide goals and policies. Conservation, rehabilitation, and preservation priorities must be incorporated into processes, procedures and practices to maintain the physical integrity of neighborhoods and

16

VACANT PROPERTIES ASSET MANAGEMENT STRATEGY

Communication & Information Communication and information recommendations and best practices involve the development of systems and networks that support the productive, economical and sustainable conservation, management, and development of vacant land buildings and facilities in the City of Buffalo. Communication and information systems or networks should serve to preserve and enhance sense of community; reduce future conflict; facilitate joint, creative solutions; improved the quality of decisions; and save time and money. Communication networks should provide a means to exchange information and updates, facilitate decision-making, and should be designed to concentrate or focus resources. Communications and information can aid in forecasting, resource allocation, fostering partnerships, monitoring, marketing, and economic development. Information and communication systems or networks should be centrally organized, linked to other resources, be efficient and regularly maintained, and ADA accessible. They may include a range of media and methods from education and public participation programs and the government cable channel, to electronic portals such as web-based access to common information and resources. The City of Buffalo is making very good progress on it’s web site offering documents, council proceedings and a web-based, geographic information mapping and assessment information, and ePermits located online at:

Task S 4.0 – Access to comprehensive planning information and opportunities

packaging them and others together under a vacant property link would make them more accessible. 1-2 yrs/On-going; $2,500 annually, material, web posting
Task 6.0 - Research and Technology

The general descriptions and associated incentives for each of the Comprehensive Planning and Redevelopment Assets listed in this section, as well as the content of the documents, should be made easily available through a single source available to the public such as the Internet and a central planning document repository. The Comprehensive Planning and Redevelopment Assets listing should be updated regularly as changes and new documents/maps come on line. The list should also be linked to City marketing efforts. Expand public assess and participation opportunities that will be required to implement collaborative and shared vacant properties asset management solutions. Review the communication methods and routes currently in use and expand them to include additional outlets and venues that reach a broader audience. Routinize the posting of participation opportunities by creating a checklist for OSP, Boards, and community organizations. 1-2 yrs/On-going; $5,000 startup, materials and supplies
Task 5.0 – Education: Administration and Partners

Monitor research and technology trends to optimize the city’s competitive position in the region, state, and nation; and share with city asset management partners. On-going; $No cost
Task S 7.0 Upstate vacant property collaboration

The City of Buffalo should collaborate with community organizations and other upstate cities to promote regulatory reforms that can facilitate vacant property redevelopment. Sponsor a summit of similar size upstate city governments and legislators to share processes, procedures, practices, and organizational systems used to manage vacant properties under the constraints of NYS law and budgets. Common needs and recommendations should form the basis for legislative reform and financial assistance. Examples - Work with the NYS Attorney General’s Office to clarify property insurance practices affecting homeowners in the vicinity of vacant properties; Work with NYS Assembly and Senate on foreclosure, demolition funding authorities, and Internet vacant property sale reforms. 1-2 yrs/2-5 yrs; $No or low cost depending on extent of communications and meetings
Task S 8.0 – Inventory and build upon existing information systems

Disseminate available information supportive of vacant property goals and recommendations to the city staff and vacant property partners, and targeted sectors as needed. Include the common regulation, reporting and enforcement penalties and processes that apply to vacant properties in community education opportunities and information systems. Compile the procedures used for common vacant property situations and post them as references on the city’s web site. Many of them are available already on the Inspections and Permits links; however,

http://www.city-buffalo.com

Build upon existing information systems such as BuffStat, Hansen and others, to meet the needs of vacant property asset management. Inventory the information

17

VACANT PROPERTIES ASSET MANAGEMENT STRATEGY

systems currently in use to determine the types of information available and who has access to it. Determine the additional information needed to implement selected recommendations. Work with city information management departments to investigate the feasibility of how the information can be added, merged, accessed, etc., and what costs are involved. In progress and1-2 yrs; $Staff participation; Near-term $50,000 technology costs
Task S 9.0 – Parcel-based data expansion

confusion among and between departments and organizations. ! Properly handle challenging or atypical inquiries. Immediate; $No cost to $2,500 materials development
Task 11.0 – Via City Internet resources

- BuffStat A citywide quality of life issues assessment and monitoring tool BuffStat is a work in progress that will provide the community and city officials another tool to assess and monitor quality of life issues based on data, problem-solving and resource allocation. A task force comprised of the Mayor’s Office, the Law Department, Housing Court, Save Our Streets, Police, Fire, Inspections, the Mayor’s Impact Team, Citizens’ Services, and Strategic Planning are working together to assemble databases, criteria, and analyze emerging issues, trends and needs. Preliminary examples of data produced through BuffStat can be viewed through http://www.city-buffalo.com. Maps and tables include: ! Arson fires and vacant properties ! Citizen Service calls by type ! Excessive calls ! Summary table of calls Continued BuffStat development includes an on-going review of relevant criteria and performance standards, and identifying future opportunities to match recurring issues and properties to community and social services.

Modify a city parcel database to include fields corresponding to their assigned Comprehensive Planning and Redevelopment Asset layers. This task may be broken down by assigning priority geographic areas or priority asset layers first. The result of this task will be to reveal parcel-based asset codes to predetermine potential redevelopment opportunities. It will also aid in neighborhood planning, marketing, and monitoring progress. 1-2 yrs; $20,000 staff/technical assistance

Use components of the information and communications system(s) to aid in the marketing of vacant land, buildings and facilities assets. This can be done through or linked to the City web page. Attractive and contemporary sites reflecting Buffalo’s goals and planning assets should be targeted to homebuyers and developer/investors. Short lists of strategic properties and development RFP’s can be posted along with links to Buffalo area real estate and development services and agencies. 1-2 years; $20,000 staff/technical assistance

Objective: Market all vacant properties in a comprehensive manner
Task 10.0 – A uniform marketing response

A uniform index of vacant property contacts, programs, services and protocol should be distributed to frontline city, agency and community organization personnel. The objectives are to: ! Welcome citizens and clients to Buffalo and its neighborhoods and begin to market local assets. Standardize the response to common inquiries; eliminate

!

18

VACANT PROPERTIES ASSET MANAGEMENT STRATEGY

!

Revenue is maximized from the sale of city-owned and increases in the tax role. Immediate; $Coordination and staff time

Financial Support

Caution: Fees and Charges The strategy recommends only three specific fees at this time - a vacant property registration fee, an independent waste hauler fee, and an open space land management fee. New fees, or changes to existing ones, should be carefully studied to insure that they have the desired impact and do in fact generate revenue. Fees should also be structured to recover the actual costs of the services or program that they intend to contribute to. Information gathered in project conversations, news reports and economic demographics points to the difficulty of assessing fees and taxes that may not be paid. Unpaid city fees and utilities can be attached to the property tax bills, and often are. Taxes and fees in arrears are subject to collections, and recovery through foreclosure. It is at this point that many properties enter, or get stuck in, the vacant property cycle.

Objective: Create an environment to save and control costs through budgeting and partner financing to reflect baseline vacant property management costs and future vacant property development costs over time.
Task F 1.0 – Vacant property cost center

Task F 2.0 Vacant property budget coordination

Coordinate the budgets of the major funding sources for vacant property management to assure that adequate resources are deployed to effectively address vacant property goals and objectives. Vacant properties responsibilities and services are funded mainly through three sources requiring plans to fund allowable costs. ! General city funds: Annual local and state revenue (taxes and fees) – Streets and Sanitation operations, maintenance and mowing City Capital Budget; Capital improvement projects through bonds – demolition of city-owned properties Federal Entitlement HUD; Consolidated Plan and Annual Plan and Budget – Slum clearance and blight control through Clean and Seal and emergency demolitions Immediate/On-going; $Coordination and staff time Also see Clean, Safe and Green section, Task C 6.0. Total immediate needs of the Streets and Sanitation Department and Mayor’s Impact Team vacant properties clean, seal, maintenance and mowing responsibilities is $560,000.
Task F 3.0 – Fiscal obligations

City budget planning and allocations should identify vacant property and its associated activities as a significant cost center. Vacant property management, maintenance and marketing responsibilities are distributed over many city departments, agencies, and authorities, and may appear as direct or indirect costs. City departments, agencies and authorities should report related direct and indirect costs to determine a baseline, and then regularly to monitor progress. Government and community should adopt criteria to monitor vacant property asset management costs and revenues. Decision-making and vacant property spending criteria must reflect established policies, regulations, plans and city and community priorities, and should assure that: ! ! Systems are adequately staffed and funded to attain goals. Costs for services on private property are recovered in full, in a timely manner from private property owners.

!

!

Provide regular information and education opportunities to government staff and the community on the various types of funds in use and available, and the associated authorities and

19

VACANT PROPERTIES ASSET MANAGEMENT STRATEGY

restrictions of these funds, to insure compliance, performance monitoring, and goal attainment. Of particular interest are funds for community development, emergency actions, and blight and slum clearance. Immediate/1-2 yrs; $Coordination and staff time
Task F 4.0 - Vacant Property Registration Fee

1-2 yrs/On-going; $2,500 startup/admin thereafter
Task F 6.0 – Open space and land management fee

Investigate the application of a program similar to the City of Wilmington’s Vacant Property Registration Fee Program5 in order to reduce the time a property is vacant and offset the city cost of maintaining vacant properties. For example, owners are required to register existing and new vacant properties and pay a fee based upon the length of time a property is vacant. A vacancy period of one year is charged $500. A sliding scale can assess a charge in excess of $5,000 and more for vacancy periods of 11+ years. Failure to comply is criminal with fines and other legal actions possible. Fee waivers are available for owners engaged in rehab, construction, and sales to new owners to discourage long-term vacancy. 1-2 yrs/On-going; $10,000 startup/admin thereafter
Task F 5.0 – Independent waste hauler registration

Government and community should investigate the benefits of a dedicated development and/or property transfer fee to conserve and manage vacant land for the public purposes of open space and recreation access. A fee to be determined through investigation can be assessed at the time of property transfer and/or site development approval. The funds should be used for expansion, improvements and maintenance of public green and open space, including interim treatments expected to be in place 10 years or more. 1-2 yrs/On-going; $10,000 startup/admin thereafter
Task F 7.0 – Dedicated development fund

Government and community should investigate the benefits of a dedicated development fund (trust or corporation) for the purpose of conserving, developing, and managing vacant land, buildings and facilities throughout the City of Buffalo. This can be part of the “Buffalo Development Program” proposed in the draft comprehensive plan, part of the mission of an existing city development corporation, or part of a regional initiative. Any development fund that targets vacant property should minimally have the following characteristics: ! ! The ability to leverage community and private resources. The ability to own and sell property. The ability to accept donated private property. The capacity to efficiently and costeffectively management vacant property in its control and prepare it for various types of development

Develop a registration and license fee scale for independent waste haulers that wish to operate in the city. This will facilitate the tracking of waste hauling activity within the city and contribute illegal dumping cost recovery.

5

“City of Wilmington Vacant Property Registration Fee Program” [Online] Available WWW: http://www.ci.wilmington.de.us/vacantpropertie s.htm

! !

20

VACANT PROPERTIES ASSET MANAGEMENT STRATEGY

(land banks), interim uses and mothballing important structures. ! The capacity to provide technical assistance to the city and community on interim uses for vacant property. The ability to generate operating expenses through vacant property related fees, services, property donation and sales. Required to work closely with the city to assure that it is absorbing the allowable administration’s responsibilities and costs to result in a net cost-savings to the city and community. 1-2 yrs/15 yr maximum; $50,000 start-up/$5.0 mm for operations yrs 1-5 A range of options can be examined in programs developed in Atlanta6, 7 8 Philadelphia , and Flint, MI among others.

!

!

6

Atlanta Development Authority [online] WWW: http://www.atlantada.com. Philadelphia Neighborhood Transformation Initiative[also online] WWW: http://www.brookings.edu/es/urbsn/publicatio ns/kromervacant.pdf. National Public Radio, “Community Leaders Work to Revitalize Michigan Town (Flint),” Morning Edition, Oct. 21, 2003, [also online] WWW: http:www.npr.org/rundowns/segment.php?wfld +1473155.

7

8

21

VACANT PROPERTIES ASSET MANAGEMENT STRATEGY

to meet specific redevelopment goals.

City-Owned Properties Dispersal
Objective: Reduce the inventory of city-owned property to conserve neighborhood resources, generate sales revenue, increase the tax role, minimize maintenance costs and minimize liability.
Task D 1.0 – Implement the cityowned properties dispersal options.

Vacant, or soon to be vacant, land inventory ! Use homestead provisions for vacant residential lots adjacent to owner occupied residences in priority areas. See Appendix 5. Reserve lots in Strategic Investment areas for future development; assign ownership and interim maintenance provisions for each of these growing areas to a municipal development board and fund. Investigate offering for sale/bid vacant lots adjacent to eligible business owners in commercial/business zones to accomplish comprehensive redevelopment goals in Renewal Community areas.

!

!

For city-owned vacant properties in or entering the city inventory: Vacant, or soon to be vacant, buildings and facilities inventory ! Employ housing rehabilitation and homestead programs for sound residential properties in priority areas; encourage density reduction for multi-unit residential structures. Select poorest condition properties for demolition; obtain demolition cost estimates for budget and redevelopment forecasting. Select impacted properties (brownfields, listed sites) for remediation and demolition, and prioritize based on hazards, cost estimates, regulatory investigations, and financial assistance. Develop a portfolio of structurally good vacant, or soon to be vacant non-residential properties; bundle adjacent vacant properties where possible; include scope of potential redevelopment opportunities based upon comprehensive plans; post and market for sale or develop RFP

Surplus Buffalo Public School Facilities Since the City of Buffalo is the owner of City of Buffalo school buildings and grounds, having multiple vacant former school structures as a result of new school construction poses potentially high demolition and long-term maintenance costs. School buildings have many potential adaptive reuses, and more so for those facilities in or near commercial areas. For facilities in primarily residential locations, reuses need to be especially compatible with their settings. Examples of schools turned into apartments are available in Western New York, and a very good example of a school-to-college library conversion can be seen at the former Holy Angels School on West Street in Buffalo (D’Youville College). Redevelopment options should be considered sooner rather than later in the case of vacant, or soon to be vacant, schools. The more desirable facilities and locations will emerge and likely

!

!

!

22

VACANT PROPERTIES ASSET MANAGEMENT STRATEGY

determine the fate of the balance that may require demolition. Immediate/On-going; $5,000 start-up/$5,000 annual staff/technical assistance

Sample reuses or conversions compatible with residential areas:

Cooperative housing Temporary and transitional housing Senior housing Adult day care Child care (24 hr) and pre-school Family sports and fitness center Recycling centers and exchanges, collection points Neighborhood heritage and entertainment centers – film, art, music, etc. Faith-based learning institutes College dormitories and satellite classrooms

Homeland security community stations – shelter, storage Information technology training centers – partner with call centers, medical campus, community college Neighborhood retail, thrift, and convenience centers Community kitchens, workshops, studios, etc. Neighborhood transportation centers – taxi, Metrobus, special transportation services, rentals, bicycle stands and repair, Amtrack and airport shuttles Centralized vacant property management headquarters and equipment storage Other creative approved reuses proposed through development RFP’s

Estimate of Improved Properties for Sale Mid 2004, active properties omitted
Single, double, multiple Apartment buildings Commercial Properties Former schools/community centers/police/ firehouse Possible additional schools 47+ 4+ 15+ 6+ 9

Source: Div. Real Estate, Nov. 2004.

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VACANT PROPERTIES ASSET MANAGEMENT STRATEGY

Clean, Safe & Green
Objective: Vacant Property Sanitation, Blight Removal, Neighborhood Safety and Conservation The predominant issue surrounding vacant land, buildings and facilities is the physical condition of the vacant properties and the resulting impacts on neighborhoods. Deteriorating and unsanitary properties impact human health, safety and well being, and the stability and economic vitality of an area. Property owners, both private and public, are responsible for the condition of their property. The New York State Uniform Fire Prevention Code, the City Charter and building codes, and their referenced standards, establish minimum compliance requirements to protect human health and safety. The Erie County and NYS Health Departments and NYS Department of Environmental Conservation also have authorities regarding disease and vector control, and environmental hazards. The countermeasures currently in use by government and the community include: ! ! ! ! ! ! ! Inspections Enforcement, including penalties and fines Clean and Seal (cleaning and boarding up structures) Demolition Maintenance and mowing, including trash removal Volunteer neighborhood clean-andgreen projects Police and fire response

The costs associated with these countermeasures for vacant properties are significant as was illustrated in the 5year costs examples. Applying them to the number of all types of vacant properties in the city demonstrates the magnitude of the drain on government and community resources. There will always be some number of vacant properties in the city due to obsolescence and trends, but hopefully at much smaller proportions. Vacant property will never disappear from the radar, but in the future it should be more manageable and cost far less to maintain. Buildings and Facilities The strategy acknowledges the fact that there is a surplus of housing and more vacant industrial and commercial property than can be used near-term. The present market is slow in growth and the demand for these types of property is generally very low. The strategy proposes a hierarchy to keep useable, or potentially useable properties, intact through conservation to preserve the asset values of structures and locations. This especially applies to important cultural and historical structures. The Vacant Land, Buildings and Facilities Asset Management Strategy flow chart, combined with the comprehensive plan and other plans, enables targeted decision-making for redevelopment choices. The final option after exhausting the conservation possibilities may be demolition. Challenges: ! There are no plans or funds for “mothballing” important structures that have potential reuses or historic significance. Note: Vacant wood frame structures with no utilities (heat) and no maintenance generally deteriorate within 2 years. Boarded entrances and windows do not prevent illegal occupation of structures – Evidence of temporary

!

24

VACANT PROPERTIES ASSET MANAGEMENT STRATEGY

or regular use can be found in the form of trash, furnishings, clothing, graffiti, drug paraphernalia, etc. ! Vacant structures are generally scavenged for fixtures, architectural features, wiring and plumbing, windows, etc., often leaving the interior beyond repair. Vacant structures are dumping spots, inside and outside, for garbage, bulk trash, tires, construction debris, etc. Vacant properties that include a structure require more time to clean and mow due to small sideyards, back yards, fencing and outbuildings. Public or private ownership and ownership problems are not discernable from the street or sidewalk.

ameliorates impacts to nearby property values. ! In a condition that is affordable and efficient to maintain to minimize the strain on city and neighborhood resources.

Challenges: ! Illegal dumping (tires, construction debris, etc.) and residential garbage and large trash on vacant lots are a major problem across the city. Since lots must be cleaned before they can be mowed, considerable time and costs are added to this task. The equipment needed for maintenance and mowing duties is in short supply and is subject to significant wear and tear due to the number and condition of vacant lots. Compliance by private owners needs to be improved to minimize the costs of servicing private lots and city billing procedures. Two-way city-community communications need to be established to report vacant lot mowing requests and reports of mowing performed by the community to improve efficiencies. See Mowing and Maintenance Plan, 2003/04, DPW Streets and Sanitation. Public or private ownership of individual lots is not readily discernable. Coordination is needed to address maintenance and mowing on other publicly and privately owned rightsof-ways and properties, including highways, parks and parkways.

!

!

!

!

!

Vacant Lots and Land The redevelopment option for vacant lots and land follows a similar analysis to buildings and facilities as described above. Project discussions indicated a desire by city administrators, elected officials, community representatives, youth and developers that vacant, developable vacant land should have one or more the following qualities depending on its location. In the interim (prior to redevelopment), vacant land should be: ! ! In a useable condition to encourage community stewardship. In a developable condition or shovel ready to encourage economic development. In a permeable and “finished” condition to return environmental function to an area. In a visually pleasing and sanitary condition. In a condition appropriate for surrounding land uses that !

!

!

!

Clean, Safe and Green If ever there was an opportunity for coordination and collaboration, it is in the efforts to keep vacant properties clean, safe and green. This requires communication, education, and a

! !

25

VACANT PROPERTIES ASSET MANAGEMENT STRATEGY

community consensus of what the specific needs are so that resources can be used effectively and efficiently. Isolated incidents in one area may be prevalent in another, or evidence of emerging trends. This local knowledge is very important for citywide planning and allocation of resources. The larger picture can be gained by assembling this information in a centralized manner in order to be proactive and to match the appropriate resources and services. Neighborhoods can coordinate and concentrate their local resources to gain efficiencies and effectiveness. City and community resources, applied in a scattered or piecemeal fashion, except in the case of emergencies, has the affect of fracturing services and diluting the impact. Reinventing the wheel and creating many small, independent efforts can cost valuable time and resources. Clean, safe and green is a yearround responsibility. Planning, budgeting, assigning labor and equipment, and purchasing supplies are tasks that need to happen in advance of Buffalo’s spring and summer seasons. Summer preparations and seasonal activities begin in May and June. This is also the end of Buffalo’s fiscal year occasionally complicating contracting and cash flow. There are many other activities that can be done through the fall and winter such as rehabilitation and mothballing structures. Surveillance for illegal dumping should be done yearround to avoid the surprises that accumulate and come into view when the snow melts.
Task C 1.0 – Know your territory

based on activity in the planning area. Priority sub-areas can be selected for areas having large numbers of vacant properties. Lists and maps should be compared against what is visible from the street or sidewalk and corrected as needed. Public and private ownership should be included with the addresses. Immediate; $No cost – currently available
Task C 2.0 – Community reporting

The vacant property team and a community advisory group should agree on a 2-way reporting protocol for nonemergency correspondence, monitoring, and complaints that is centralized, compatible with data collection methods, and time sensitive. Currently, the preferred central contact is the Mayor’s Complaint Line – 851-4890. Immediate; $No cost – currently available, education opportunity
Task C 3.0 – Solid waste education

The city, Common Council, community and Erie County should collaborate in a Clean, Safe and Green education campaign. Materials can be obtained through Keep Western New York Beautiful that builds upon current, joint recycling education efforts. Subject matter should focus on the major solid waste and garbage problems in neighborhoods. 1-2 yrs; $5,000 per year for 2 yrs
Task C 4.0 – Surveillance and enforcement

Good Neighbors Planning Alliance planning areas should include inventories of vacant properties in their plans. This exercise should be coordinated with the Office of Strategic Planning, and updated, as needed

Surveillance, reporting and enforcement for illegal dumping should be a priority to reduce and recover city waste disposal costs. The community, legislators, and enforcement personnel should collaborate on anti-dumping education and reporting. Where reporting is an issue or dumping is repeated in an area, surveillance cameras can be used to aid enforcement and prosecution.

26

VACANT PROPERTIES ASSET MANAGEMENT STRATEGY

Immediate/1-2 yrs; $15,000 for equipment and operatingenforcement plan
Costly and Dangerous The dumping of used tires is a persistent illegal dumping problem. Dumping occurs on vacant lots AND in vacant structures. Under NYS DEC and Taxation Departments a fee of $2.50 is assessed at the time of new tire sale for tire waste management. Retailers and dealers retain $0.25 per tire to cover time for paperwork and arrangements for used tires they must legally dispose of. There is no fee charged for the resale of used tires. The City is charged $2.00 to $2.50 for disposal for every tire that is retrieved from illegal dumping. Because of this, consumers are charged twice (through the original fee and through city taxes) for each tire picked up. For example, the city has cleaned up dumps of up to 60,000 ($120,000 + plus labor and equipment) or more tires in a single incident this past year (2003) and many 10’s of thousands annually as a result of vacant property cleanups. This can amount to a subsidy approaching $250,000 annually for illegal operations. Tires are a West Nile Virus health concern because of their ability to hold rainwater that becomes a breeding environment for mosquitoes. Tires are also a fire hazard, and greatly complicate firefighting when dumped in vacant buildings.

! ! ! !

Trimmers and hand tools - $10,000; plus $1,000 annual maintenance fee 2 Tandems - $200,000 1 Highlift - $80,000 1 BobCat - $25,000

Task C 5.0 - Used Tire Waste Management

Work with Erie County Environment and Planning and Health Departments, and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation to develop a process to inspect and educate retail and wholesale automobile operations that deal in new and used tires of all types. Recommend and implement a system for reporting illegal dumping and renew enforcement of solid waste and public health laws. Include additional inspector in grant opportunities. Immediate/1-2 yrs; $90,000 for 2 yr solid waste inspections and enforcement (part of and in addition to education and surveillance above)
Task C 6.0 – Labor and equipment allocations

Total Year One estimate to meet baseline needs is $458,000. Clean & Seal Team – Performs major “clean and seal” duties. Immediate needs: ! 2 Tractors with cutters and snow throwers - $24,000; plus $500 annual maintenance 1 Dump truck - $50,000; plus $1,000 annual maintenance 1 BobCat plus attachments $29,000 Trimmers and hand tools - $3,000 Personal protective equipment, plus Kevlar vests - $3,500 annually

! ! ! !

Adequate capacity and number of equipment, labor and supplies must be incorporated in the city budget to perform desired sanitation and blight removal goals. This involves forecasting next season’s activity based on the projected number of vacant properties and new demolitions that are expected to increase for at least the next five years. Equipment pools and acquisition of surplus government equipment should be investigated to fill budget gaps. Realtime, portable data collectors (palm pilots) can be used to log lot status and notations to eliminate data entry steps. Streets and Sanitation Department – Responsible for vacant property maintenance and mowing, and the coordination of supporting city departments to accomplish vacant property sanitation goals. Immediate needs: ! 5 Tractors with cutters - $125,000; plus $15,000 annual maintenance fee

Total Year One estimate to meet baseline needs is $102,000. Total immediate needs of the Streets and Sanitation Department and Mayor’s Impact Team vacant properties clean, seal, maintenance and mowing responsibilities is $560,000.
Task C 7.0 - Demolition standards

The demolition standards should be reviewed annually against performance criteria, and the developing needs for a range of redevelopment options and cost savings. This may include options for finer site finishing for homesteaddestined properties, or a separate followup for desired finishes. Contractor lists should be refreshed annually to assure compliance with state and federal contracting requirements. Demolition projections, practices and funding priorities should be re-evaluated regularly to maintain the physical integrity

27

VACANT PROPERTIES ASSET MANAGEMENT STRATEGY

of neighborhoods, to minimize maintenance costs, and to aid in redevelopment On-going; $No cost.
Task C 8.0 Clean, Safe and Green Design Review

Task C 10.0 - Clean Safe and Green Performance and Goal Attainment Award

The Department of Public Works, Inspections, Office of Strategic Planning and BERC should develop site review guidelines or conditions of public and private development and improvement. The purpose of these guidelines is to assure that the city can actually perform the required maintenance on rights-ofways in an efficient manner. Streets and Sanitation do not currently have cutters that can cut sloped berms, embankments or detailed cutouts. The responsibility for tree maintenance on the public portion of new developments is unclear at this time. An alternative is to designate certain maintenance and mowing activities to the primary manager of the commercial/industrial development as a condition of site plan approval. 1-2 yrs; $No cost
Task C 9.0 Clean, Safe and Green Summits

Acknowledge and celebrate accomplishments and goal attainment through recognition and grant awards. The candidates should include exceptional performers and cooperators from all community and government sectors and emphasize collaboration and efficiency. Grant awards should be standardized and based on plans and measurable outcomes. 1-2 years; $No cost to recommended small grants/ awards, $5,000 annually.

Convene summits or meetings with entities in control of vacant, open, or right-of-way land within the City of Buffalo. The purpose of the summits is to present the City of Buffalo clean, safe and green objectives, and to solicit the cooperation/collaboration of those entities in vacant property maintenance and mowing. ! ! ! ! Railroad corporations State and county transportation departments Utilities Institutions and public authorities 1-2 yrs; $No cost

28

Appendices
Appendix 1 - Maps 1-3 Appendix 2 - Strategy Objectives and Tasks Summary Appendix 3 - Selected Planning Asset Layers Table Appendix 4 - Vacant Property Costs Estimates Examples Appendix 5 - Vacant Land Buildings and Facilities Asset Management Strategy Elements and Flow Chart Appendix 6 - Vacant Lot Homesteading Proposal and Priority Areas

29

Appendix 1 – Maps 1-3

30

31

32

Appendix 2 – Strategy Objectives and Tasks Summary Table

Objectives and Tasks Systems Support Objective: Establish, educate and promote around a policy of comprehensive planning, and the benefits of adhering to such a policy and plans. S 1.0 Policy development and monitoring S 2.0 Establish and maintain vacant property team S 3.0 Comprehensive plan approval and rezoning update S 4.0 Access to comprehensive planning information and opportunities S 5.0 Education: Administration and Partners S 6.0 Research and technology S 7.0 Upstate vacant property collaboration S 8.0 Inventory and build upon existing information systems S 9.0 Parcel-based data expansion Objective: Market all vacant properties on a comprehensive manner S 10.0 A uniform marketing response S 11.0 Via city internet resources Financial Support Objective: Create an environment to save and control costs through budgeting and partner financing to reflect baseline vacant property costs, and future vacant property development costs over time. F 1.0 Vacant property costs center F 2.0 Vacant property budget coordination F 3.0 Fiscal obligations F 4.0 Vacant property registration fee F 5.0 Independent waste hauler registration F 6.0 Open space and land management fee F 7.0 Dedicated development fund City-Owned Properties Dispersal Objective: Reduce the inventory of city-owned property to conserve neighborhood resources, generate sales revenue, increase the tax role, and minimize maintenance costs and liability. D 1.0 Implement the city-owned properties dispersal options. Clean, Safe & Green Objective: Vacant property sanitation, blight removal, neighborhood safety and conservation. C 1.0 Know your territory C 2.0 Community reporting C 3.0 Solid waste education C 4.0 Surveillance and enforcement C 5.0 Used tire waste management C 6.0 Labor and equipment allocations

Time Frame

Costs

Immed/On-going Immed/On-going 1-2 yrs 1-2 yrs/On-going 1-2 yrs/0n-going On-going 1-2yrs /2-5yrs In progress and 1-2 yrs 1-2 yrs Immediate 1-2 yrs

No Cost (NC) Staff/Volunteers Included in comp planning and zoning projects $5,000 start-up – materials and supplies $2,500 annually – materials, web postings NC Annual communications costs Present – Staff participation; Near-term $50,000 technology costs $20,000 staff/technical assistance NC to $2,500 materials development $20,000 staff/technical assistance

Immediate Immed/On-going Immed/1-2 yrs 1-2 yrs/On-going 1-2 yrs/On-going 2-5 yrs/On-going 1-2 yrs/15 yr max.

Coordination and staff time Coordination and staff time Coordination and staff time/Partners $10,000 start-up/admin thereafter $2,500 start-up/admin thereafter $10,000 start-up/admin thereafter $50,000 start-up/$5.O mm for yrs 1-5

Immed/On-going

$5,000 start-up/$5,000 annual staff/technical assistance

Immediate Immediate 1-2 yrs Immed/1-2 yrs Immed/1-2 yrs Immed/On-going

C 7.0 Demolition standards C 8.0 Clean, safe and green design review C 9.0 Clean, safe and green summits C 10.0 Clean, safe and green performance and goal attainment awards

On-going 1-2 yrs 1-2 yrs 1-2 yrs

Currently available Currently available – education opp. $5,000 per year for 2 yrs $15,000 for plan and equipment $90,000 for 2 yr solid waste inspections and enforcement $458,000 Streets & Sanitation equipment; $102,000 Impact Team equipment; plus annual allocation for regular replacements NC NC NC Ranges no cost to recommended $5,000 per year for small awards/grants

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Appendix 3 – Selected Comprehensive Planning Asset Layers

Asset layers from Queen City in the 21st Century, Buffalo’s Comprehensive Plan, DRAFT, Dec. 2004. The matrix assigns the positive attribute(s) of the selected asset layer. Other attributes can and should be examined for the evaluation of redevelopment options involving vacant properties. The primary attribute is denoted as”1”; “2” denotes other or secondary attributes. The Investment Corridors Map which follows is a good example of viewing the asset layers as a composite of Strategic Corridors, Phase I Schools, and Ellicott, Olmsted, and the Water.

Table: Asset Layer Matrix Attribute
Neighborhoods Economic Dev. Environmental

Asset Layer
Good Neighbors Planning Alliance – Planning Communities

Description
11 geographic planning areas (including downtown), each encompassing several major neighborhoods; all areas are responsible for developing local priorities and plans. Redevelopment and consolidation of physical school infrastructure and closing of some facilities; area surrounding improved schools targeted for neighborhood and housing investment priorities. Mapped cultural attractions – historical, arts, other cultural, some natural features within Buffalo; basis for tourism and heritage campaigns. Vacant land plotted around each attraction prioritized for improvement and infill. An element of the Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan (DRAFT) designed to fulfill prescribed coastal management planning requirements. A comprehensive view of Buffalo’s “green” infrastructure and it function and potential as a community and environmental asset. A draft plan of greenways around and through the city to connect Olmsted and the waterfront; examples of recommended pedestrian and bicycle design standards; vacant property is a means to link destinations.

2

2

Connectivity

Cultural

1

Phase I Schools and Neighborhood (1/2 mi. radius)

2

2

1

Rethinking Niagara, Cultural Attractions in Buffalo

2

1

2

2

2

Vacant Land Around Historic Districts Waterfront Nodal Analysis

2

1

2

2

2

2

1

2

Green Infrastructure; Protected, Unprotected, Potential

2

2

1

2

2

Buffalo Greenways (Also Bike Paths)

2

2

1

2

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Attribute
Neighborhoods Economic Dev. Environmental Connectivity

Table: Asset Layer Matrix Continued. Asset Layer
Parks

Description
Buffalo network of historic destination parks, facilities, neighborhood parks and passive parks. A framework of infrastructure and natural resources linked by historic design and natural features – radial transportation routes, the park network, and the water front and river. Federal Renewal Communities and NYS Empire Zone designations offer reinvestment priorities and incentives. Designated neighborhood-based retail strips or nodes eligible for revitalization assistance; some Live Zones are also in Empire Zones. “Queen City Hub” plan includes strategic investment sub-areas within the downtown region, including and surrounding the central business district. Scheduled Buffalo sponsored federal transportation improvement projects – access to funding pending. Larger, core commercial and industrial areas utilizing major highway and rail transportation; infill and new development opportunities. 1) Waterfront/Tonawanda Corridor, 2) Main Street/Downtown Corridor, 3) South Park/Eastside Rail Corridor; these corridors reinforce and consolidate transportation and commercial/industrial redevelopment opportunities. The majority of brownfield sites are within the Strategic Investment Corridors; programs available for site investigations and redevelopment.

2

Cultural

1

2

2

2

Ellicott, Olmsted and the Water

1

2

2

2

2

Renewal Communities and Empire Zones Lives Zones (key retail strips)

1

2

1

2

2

The New Downtown

1

2

2

2

Transportation Improvement Projects through 2006 Economic Redevelopment Areas

1

2

2

1

2

Strategic Investment Corridors

1

2

2

Brownfields

2

1

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The Investment Corridors Map - a composite of Strategic Corridors, Phase I Schools, and Ellicott, Olmsted, and the Water. Source: Queen City in the 21st Century, Buffalo’s Comprehensive Plan, DRAFT, Dec. 2004.

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Appendix 4 – Vacant Property Cost Estimate Examples
Hypothetical 5-YR Residential Estimate VLBFAM Project Report, 2003/04

The Year 1 assessed value of the home is assumed to be $25,000; the Year 4 assessed value of the lot is assumed to be $2,000. The taxation rate is fixed at $19.04 per thousand for all five years. For the purpose of this illustration, the labor costs were estimated using approximated direct man-hours and a citywide average salary ($45,000) plus fringes estimated at 15% for a total hourly rate of $25.00 per hour. Materials or other costs are estimated and no indirect costs were included. Labor and materials costs are estimated to be the minimum required for each activity. Actual costs will vary with each property and ownership situation.
Activity Year 1 Initial inspection – confirmed vacant, code violations noted Citation Follow-up inspection Clean and seal ordered Year 2 Fire response Debris removal – 2 times Series of citizen complaints Police respond – 2 times Inspection response initiates demolition proceedings Year 3 Notification to all parties with interests and ownership Real estate, collections, courts Court hearing scheduled – no response Vector control (rodents) Police response (x2) Unpaid taxes Yrs 1-3 Year 4 Demolition in year 4 Private land is idle – Neighbors voluntarily clean and mow Year 5 Abandoned vehicle reported and removed City cleans and mows, bills owner Unpaid taxes Yrs 4-5 Total est. costs Labor $75 50 25 100 250 100 75 100 150 200 200 100 50 100 50 1,428 7,500 200 50 420 76 $1,825 $8,520 $1,504 Materials Other Total $75 50 25 350 250 150 75 100 150 200 200 100 100 100 1,428 7,500 400 100 420 76 $11,849

$250

50

200 50

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5 YR Demolition Mowing & Maintenance Projections

The 5-Year Residential Demolition and Maintenance Estimates are an attempt to understand the financial impact of two city-based activities - residential demolition and maintenance and mowing on existing and resulting vacant residential lots. The scenario represented by the following table makes these assumptions: ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! A demolition goal of 4,250 residential structures over 5 years A net annual reduction goal of city (COB) and private (PRIV) lots of 500 per year each through sale or development All costs are in 2004 dollars Residential demolitions average $7,500 each, and do not include asbestos removal (additional $2,500); Private residential demos are generally the result of emergencies. The average city maintenance and mowing (M&M) costs average $450/yr/lot The city performs M&M on 25% of private lots due to noncompliance The city recovers 100% of its demolition and M&M costs from private owners No other direct or indirect vacant property management or services are included in this estimate

City-owned Property: City lots (minus 500/yr) YR 1 YR 2 YR 3 YR 4 YR 5 TTL 4,000 3,500 3,000 2,500 2,000 City residential demo 750 1,000 1,000 750 750 4,250 Total City lots 4,750 4,500 4,000 3,250 2,750 City demo costs 5,625,000 7,500,000 7,500,000 5,625,000 5,625,000 $31,875,000 City City Total demo and M&M costs M&M costs 2,137,500 2,025,000 1,800,000 1,462,500 1,237,500 $8,662500 7,762,500 9,525,000 9,300,000 7,087,500 6,862,500 $40,537,500

Private Property Activity – Noncompliant & Emergency City Costs Billed to Owner: PRIV lots PRIV residential Total PRIV (minus 500/yr) demo lots YR1 YR2 YR3 YR4 YR5 TTL 8,000 7,500 7,000 6,500 6,000 50 50 50 50 50 250 8,050 7,550 7,050 6,550 6,050 PRIV demo costs 375,000 375,000 375,000 375,000 375,000 $1,875,000 PRIV PRIV Total demo and M&M$* costs M&M costs 905,400 849,600 792,900 737,100 680,400 $3,965,400 1,280,400 1,224,600 1,167,900 1,112,100 1,055,400 $5,840,400

Net Pre-Reimbrsement Cost to City NET COST City TTL+PRIV TTL 9,042,900 10,749,600 10,467,900 8,199,600 7,917,900 $46,377,900

**Changes to the assumptions used in this example can cause costs to increase or decrease substantially. A worse case scenario that does not meet vacant lot reduction goals and does not recover city costs incurred by private property owners could feasibly push the total cost for 5 years over $50 million. Delaying demolitions may reduce near-term costs, however direct costs will accumulate through vacant property maintenance and emergency response activity, and demolition costs will rise in the future. Cost savings may be realized through proactive planning and goal setting, and demolition, mowing and maintenance efficiencies.

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Cost Estimates For Common Community Vacant Lot Reuses

General – The types and ranges of costs included in the following summary are intended as guidance only. Total project costs vary with site (lot or lots) size, site condition, desired design outcome, availability of plants and trees, type and quality of materials used, timing and availability of contracted services, permit and insurance requirements, and future operation and maintenance requirements. The Partners for Urban Resources and the Environment Erie Niagara (PURE) facilitated the development and funding for a variety of community based environmental Projects from 1998 through 2003. Many of these Projects were implemented on vacant lots of varying conditions. Average Project costs for basic vacant lot restoration (one or two adjacent residential lots) were around $5,000.00. The range was about $500 per lot to $30,000 per site depending on the treatments. Site improvements included turf, perennial gardens, raised-bed community gardens, tree planting and passive recreation areas, outdoor educational spaces, wildlife habitat and water quality improvements. The United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service provided matching funds for these projects. The City of Philadelphia has a guide called Reclaiming Vacant Lots, A Philadelphia Green Guide, published by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, 2002, that offers strategies and checklists for vacant lot reuse. This information is very helpful in developing interim reuses and determining the costs associated with reuse activities. Examples of local costs and components follow. Important notes: 1) Site control is required for work on public and private property. This includes written permission or agreements to work on the site, the nature and duration of the work, and any insurance requirements required of the site owner. 2) Site improvements that are funded by City, State, and Federal sources require bids for purchases exceeding certain values, work performed according to prevailing labor laws and wages, many other conditions. Check with your funding agent to assure compliance with grant and award requirements. 3) The City of Buffalo has a pesticide ordinance that prohibits the use of pesticides on public property. It is advisable to use organic methods and Integrated Pest Management methods where controls are necessary. Pesticide notification regulations may apply in this case. Pressure treated lumber warnings should be adhered to where it is use is necessary in the landscape. 4) Large-scale projects may require review, approval and permits from the city and/or other agencies depending upon the extent of construction, the location of the project or it’s proximity to protected cultural or environmental resources. Common or Typical Costs There are common types of costs associated with the generalized activities and site improvements listed below. The costs may include community volunteer services, volunteer or donated professional services, donated materials and supplies, donated equipment, purchased or contracted services, purchased materials and supplies, utilities (water, lighting), rented or purchased equipment, etc. Site establishment: Community organizing – Construct a sustainable project partnership that will carry the project through planning, fund raising, design, construction, seasonal care, and future maintenance and operations. Costs - Volunteer time, supplies and materials, professional or contracted services will vary with type of project and duration.

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Fund raising – Design fund raising to cover the costs of constructing the project and sustaining the maintenance of the site into future years. Costs – Volunteer time, supplies and materials, professional or contracted services will vary with type of project and duration. Cleanup – A major clean-up prior to the first workday should be done to carefully examine the site characteristics, determine unforeseen problems, and adjust the site design if necessary. Often this first clean-up requires more than one session. Costs - Volunteer time, pre-arranged trash pick-up, trash bags or containers, gloves, shovels, rakes, contracted services to remove and dispose of large items. Site preparation – Preparing the site for planting, fencing, raised-bed construction or other installations. Do NOT strip the entire site bare of turf and topsoil unless it is a requirement of the site design. Instead, strip only those smaller areas needed, and in other problem areas remove rubble and rocks and undesirable weeds so that these areas can be reseeded. This will prevent unnecessary soil erosion, dust dispersion and other exposures. Costs – Volunteer labor, equipment and hand tools, disposal of brush and debris, topsoil, fertilizer and compost, grass seed, contracted services for major site modifications or foundation and concrete removal if needed. Turf – For sites intended to be covered in turf grass only – Current conditions should be examined for specific needs, including soil testing for fertility levels. Lots mostly grass-covered should be revitalized with fertilizer or compost based on test results, and over-seeded or patched where needed. Establishment of a new lawn requires removal of current weeds and grass, preparation of the seedbed with topsoil and fertilizer or compost, seeding and mulching,, and regular watering. Ongoing care includes mowing, watering and occasional fertilizing. ! Do-it yourself turf, supplies only: 2” depth topsoil delivered (not including spreading), grass seed, fertilizer, straw or compost mulch - $0.150.22/ftsq ! Hydro-seeding on already prepared site (seed w/mulch applied) - $0.050.10/sqft ! Soil testing - $12-20/sample ! Grass seed selected for conditions and use – varies ! Water source, hose and sprinklers – varies ! Lawn mower/tractor - varies Landscaping – The addition of trees, shrubs, perennials, beds should be suited to the soil, light and moisture conditions of the site. Consideration should be given to pedestrian traffic patterns through and around the site, and snow accumulation (street and sidewalk plowing). The design should be low maintenance, or not require more maintenance than the community is able to dedicate. ! Costs for average sized lots with simple design elements have been in the range of $1,000 to 5,000 depending on the size and number of plants and trees selected, not including signs, fences or furniture. ! Bare-root trees, volunteer planted (1 ½ dia. or less) - $30-75/tree ! Ball & burlap, contractor planted (up to 3 ½” dia.) - $250-500/tree ! Shrubs and perennials – varies ! Topsoil for beds – Ave. $20/cuyd Community gardening – The raised bed method of gardening is recommended for the production of garden crops (fruits, vegetables, herbs, edible flowers, etc.) for human consumption due to the variability of soil quality. Organic gardening methods are recommended where crops are grown for general consumption or sharing within the community. Garden soil tests and site light and moisture conditions should guide fertility recommendations and plant selections. All crops used for consumption should be thoroughly

40

washed before preparation and eating. Garden paths should be covered in mulch or turf to minimize erosion and dust. Pressure treated lumber should be avoided for new garden bed construction. Where it is in use, it should be isolated from the garden soil by a plastic membrane liner. An available water source is essential for successful community gardens and should be included in garden planning and design. Irrigation systems can be designed to conserve water. ! Volunteer constructed raised beds: 28-48 sqft x 10” deep approx. $200 ea. 28-48 sqft x 32” deep ADA accessible $800-$2,000 ea. (w/drainage) ! Water source – tap plus meter, underground box - $3000-5000 ea. Special treatments – Fences, signs, some electrical, lighting and plumbing improvements, and some larger outdoor structures such as large sheds and pavilions require city installation permits and may require inspections or surveys. ! Signs – sign, installation and permit varies with size and type of sign ! Fencing only, approximate average costs installed, prevailing wages, does not include permits, gates or other special features: Split rail, 2 rails – $12-15 per linear foot Chain link (Cyclone), 4’ tall – $17-22 per linear foot Aluminum, decorative, 4’ tall – $55-75 per linear foot Regular and long-term site operations and maintenance: Planning for regular and long-term site operations and maintenance is essential to keeping a community project site looking its best and generating on-going volunteer participation. The following activities should be put on a community calendar to develop routine attention to the site. ! Spring clean-up, inspection, plant replacement, mulching and soil testing ! Regular watering ! Trash removal as needed ! Mowing as needed, and care and maintenance of garden equipment ! Weeding beds and trimming trees and shrubs and needed ! Preparing the gardens and beds ready for winter ! Fund raising for the next season Post-demolition cost estimate for finishing lot in turf: Current demolition contracts provide for a minimum quality of site finishing. Demolition contracts do not normally require topsoil or seeding unless special provisions are required based on future use. Finishing residential lots in the following manner is appropriate for lots intended for homesteading. The estimated cost of finishing a post-demolition residential lot, average size of 30’ x 100’, with topsoil, seedbed preparation and hydro-seeding is approximately $2,600. This estimate includes the following assumptions: ! Single residential lots of this size are difficult to maneuver large equipment in, and finishing single individual lots is less efficient than large open areas or multiple lots ! The lot is left 6”-8” below grade after demolition and no debris, aggregate or soil clods remaining are greater than 6” ! Costs include labor, mobilizing equipment, 6”-8” of topsoil (and subsoil if necessary) for a 30’ x 60’ area, spreading, leveling, and seedbed raking, hydroseeding equipment and supplies. As with all grassed areas, new turf care and watering will be necessary, as well as seasonal maintenance and mowing. PURE Erie-Niagara, 12/04

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Appendix 5 - Vacant Property Asset Management Elements & Flow Charts
(Excerpted from the Vacant Land, Buildings and Facilities Asset Management Project Report)

An asset management strategy calls upon a variety of disciplines and involves the community. The outline of a proposed asset review of a property includes an examination of all of the assets or resources that it contains, above, at and below grade. It is not exclusively a real property appraisal or an environmental assessment. It is an integrated combination of considerations to satisfy neighborhood, preservation, environmental, and development goals. The umbrella of the asset management strategy is a set of communication, monitoring and prevention elements. The vacant properties asset management strategy elements follow and are summarized in flow chart form in the Vacant Land, Building and Facility Asset Management Strategy Parts 1-3, (following).The element components include the major considerations or aspects necessary to guide an asset management strategy as they relate to the systems or processes currently in place.
Diagram 2.0 Vacant Land, Building and Facility Asset Management Strategy Overview
All Properties, continuous: COMMUNICATION & INFORMATION MONITORING PREVENTION & INTERVENTION _____________________________ The Subject Property: PRELIMINARY EVALUATION ASSET LAYER REVIEW CONSERVATION REHABILITATION PRESERVATION RESOURCE RECOVERY REMEDIATION DEMOLITION LAND REUSE OR CONVERSION REPEAT

Element 1: Communication and Information 1. The communication and information elements involve the

development of systems and networks that support the productive, economical and sustainable conservation, management, and development of vacant land buildings and facilities in the City of Buffalo. preserve and enhance sense of community; reduce future conflict; facilitate joint, creative solutions; improved the quality of decisions; and save time and money. are accessible to, the stakeholders involved in and affected by vacant property.

2. Communication and information systems or networks serve to

3. Communication and information systems or networks integrate, and

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4. Information systems provide a wide variety of information and

resources related to vacant properties, the scope and content to be determined by the stakeholders. and updates, facilitate decision-making, and should be designed to concentrate or focus resources.

5. Communication networks provide a means to exchange information

6. Information and communication systems or networks provide an

education opportunity for prevention and intervention resources, and a mode to report monitoring outcomes. foundation for marketing and its associated activities; these same systems can co-function as elements of a marketing strategy. centrally organized or linked, efficient and regularly maintained.

7. Information and communication systems or networks provide a

8. Information and communication systems or networks should be 9. Systems and networks may include representatives, committees,

special task-oriented groups that reach both into the administration and the community. They may also include electronic portals such as web-based access to common information and resources. Good examples of this are the city’s web-based, geographic information mapping system and assessment information, both located online at http://www.city-buffalo.com.

Element 2: Monitoring 1. Monitoring is an activity performed throughout the life cycle of a land

use, and it repeats as the use is renewed or changed.

2. Monitoring is the generalized activity of recording real time

transactions and observed changes to property that will aid in intervention and prevention, planning, preservation, and vacant property management. outcomes, the impact of investments, compliance results, and to detect trends. independent monitoring. Sharing the resulting information through communication and information systems will aid in reaching mutual goals. property should be reviewed to determine the scope of information currently collected. The criteria should be examined for information gaps and the appropriate manner for including the criteria or not.

3. Monitoring can be used to measure accomplishments, program

4. Many departments, boards, and community organizations perform

5. Monitoring criteria relevant to abandonment trends and vacant

Element 3: Prevention and Intervention 1. Prevention and intervention are taken to be a set of services,

activities, programs and support that aims to arrest the deterioration of structures and intercept owners tending toward property abandonment, i.e. housing services, lending institutions, historic preservation districts, etc.

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2. Prevention and intervention benefits individual property owners and

is often dependent upon program education and varying degrees of financial support to achieve successful outcomes. neighborhood conservation and redevelopment; the preservation of unique or historic places structures or articles; resource recovery; and the enhancement or establishment of accessible green and open spaces. private sector agencies and organizations serving regional or localized audiences; all are collecting information and could benefit from information and communication (legal constraints recognized). and Inspection has an important and central role in Prevention and Intervention.

3. Prevention and intervention benefits neighborhoods and includes

4. Prevention and intervention service providers include public and

5. As with Monitoring above, the City of Buffalo Department of Permits

Element 4: Preliminary Evaluation & Asset Layer Review

“Evaluation, review, and assessment” are used interchangeably in this section to describe ways to consider vacant properties. This is a generalized concept that should not be confused with a tax assessment, a real estate appraisal, or an environmental review or audit unless specifically noted. Any “assessment, evaluation or review” conducted for the purpose of considering a property in the manner described in this report cannot be legally substituted for the latter. Any “assessment, evaluation or review” conducted for the purpose of considering a property in the manner described in this report cannot be legally substituted for a tax assessment, a real estate appraisal, or an environmental review or audit. Vacant properties can be reviewed in asset layers to help determine their condition and to enhance conservation and reuse decision-making. Each layer contributes, some objectively and others subjectively, positively or negatively, to the total potential or future use of the property. The various layers may require research, site visits or interviews to determine answers to specific inquiries. Do not attempt to access a property without the permission of the owner, public or private – “vacant” is not a defense against trespass. Do not attempt to enter boarded buildings or facilities, or posted property; you may be placing yourself or others in danger. Environmental testing or chemical analysis of any part of any structure on the subject property, or of any surface or subsurface soil or water on the property requires the consent of the property owner(s), public or private. This includes seeking written permission from the City of Buffalo or any of its municipal agencies. CAUTION!!! ! Do not attempt to access a property without the permission of the owner, public or private – “vacant” is not a defense against trespass.

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!

Do not attempt to enter boarded buildings or facilities, or posted property; you may be placing yourself or others in danger. Environmental testing or chemical analysis of any part of any structure on the subject property, or of any surface or subsurface soil or water on the property requires the consent of the property owner(s), public or private. This includes seeking written permission from the City of Buffalo or any of its municipal agencies.

!

Asset Layers Not all asset layers require attention in every case, but each layer should be given consideration for possible future impacts and to eliminate unnecessary surprises and time delays.
ASSET LAYERS Vacant properties can be evaluated in layers to improve conservation and reuse decision-making. ! Paper layers ! Buildings and facilities ! Green infrastructure ! Infrastructure/utilities ! Land/grade ! Land/sub-grade ! Surrounding land use and general conditions

1. Paper layers – The paper layers are the man-made conditions,

constraints and opportunities associated with a specific property. For example:
Ownership Deeds and covenants Special districts Zoning regulations Development constraints associated with funding authorities Economic development zones Development plans Strategic Investment Corridors Land assembly areas Former uses

2.

Buildings and facilities layer – If buildings and facilities are present on the land and are the subject of proposed conservation or demolition, the first review should be from a paper and sidewalk perspective. DO NOT enter vacant buildings or facilities without the permission of the owner, and NEVER enter boarded, sealed, or posted building or facilities.

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A preliminary search should use:
Public records - deeds Photographs, regular, aerial Historic archives Inspection information GIS data and records Title searches Interviews – neighbors, former owners or employees Tax assessment information

A more detailed study is generally necessary depending on the planned future use and funding sources involved. There may be city permit and inspection requirements; asbestos surveys; preservation and planning board reviews and approval processes; and/or environmental reviews such as New York State Environmental Quality Review or environmental testing. Inquire early in the planning process and add these requirements to your timetable.

Contact the City of Buffalo Planning Board for the “Design and Site Plan Review Checklist” package for submission requirements, process schedule, and fees, (716) 851-5086. See also Part V. Contact the Buffalo Preservation Board for the operations and procedures package at (716)-851-5029. Contact the City of Buffalo Department of Permit and Inspection Services for code standards permits and fees at (716) 851-4925, and Inspections at (716) 851-4949.

3.

Green infrastructure layer – The green infrastructure layer includes live and natural resources on and in the vicinity of the property under consideration: the trees, landscaping and other vegetation on the property and the corresponding right-of-ways. This layer is a part of the neighborhood and citywide system of green infrastructure that provides numerous benefits to the environment and supplements quality of life. Trees and landscaping contribute to individual and neighborhood property values and increase pedestrian circulation in commercial districts. Green infrastructure should be preserved, enhanced or replaced in a manner that improves or preserves continuity. Green infrastructure can be used as a tool to direct and encourage neighborhood connectivity to shopping and cultural attractions. The assessment of green infrastructure should also include a look beyond the immediate boundary of the vacant property for consideration of the property’s relationship to the neighborhood, watershed, viewshed, or other geographic or geopolitical region.

4.

Infrastructure/utilities layer – This is a strategic layer that can guide or discourage development, and that may or may not impact vacant property in varying ways depending on location. It includes a number of manmade public and private services:

46

Hardscape – sidewalks, curbs, driveways, parking lots Roads, highways, and bridges Sewers – storm water and sanitary Lighting – street and traffic Utilities Railroads The presence or absence of manmade infrastructure may affect the feasibility of proposed reuse or development, and should be a major factor in locating commercial and industrial Projects. This layer requires special attention in land assembly areas that may offer opportunities for consolidation and upgrade of aged public service districts. The City of Buffalo Department of Public Works has a policy of coordinating city and regional infrastructure upgrades where feasible with road reconstruction.
5.

Land, at-grade layer – This layer represents the physical shape and condition of the land at-grade. It can be described by the slope, surface condition, surface drainage and surface soil (about one shovel deep). These conditions can vary widely from parcel to parcel and across the city. As with the sub-grade layer below, the surface soil is generally not the original topsoil in urban areas. Over the years topsoil may have developed under grass or could have been developed by the landowner through care and soils amendments. In contrast, post-demolition lots and long-time vacant lots tend to collect rubble and debris through backfill or illegal dumping at or just below the surface. Above ground tanks and materials storage areas may require special attention. A more detailed study is generally necessary depending on the planned future use and Project funding sources involved. There may be city permit and inspection requirements; preservation and planning board reviews and approval processes; and/or environmental reviews such as the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) assessment or environmental testing. Inquire early in the planning process and add these requirements to your timetable.

6.

Land, sub-grade layer – This layer though unseen requires serious attention depending on the location and former uses of the vacant property. The current legal owner(s) by law is responsible for its condition. Reuse and development plans can be affected by underground utilities and drainage conveyances. Older residential areas often have underground heating oil tanks that require removal prior to construction or rehabilitation. A more detailed sub-grade study is generally necessary depending on the planned future use and funding sources involved. There may be city permit and inspection requirements; preservation and planning board reviews and approval processes; and/or environmental reviews such as SEQRA assessment or environmental testing.

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What you don’t see might hurt you – or certainly slow you down. Inquire about underground storage or petroleum tanks, past land disposal and land filling practices, hazardous material spills, and plumes from underground leaks and spills from adjacent properties. These are topics worth checking off your list. Inquire early in the planning process and add these requirements to your timetable. Plans that include excavation, tree planting, or digging for construction or repairs require that you CALL BEFORE YOU DIG to locate underground utilities. Property owners should contact 1-800-962-7962 for coordination of utilities in your area. Also, remember to check for overhead electrical lines if ladders, scaffolding, and construction equipment will be required on site.

7.

Surrounding land use and general conditions layer – This layer captures a variety of topics that may influence or add to the value of vacant property reuse and development. The surrounding land use, including adjacent properties and the immediate neighborhood, should be observed for its prevailing characteristics. The proposed Project should enhance and not detract from the surrounding land use. Area residents, especially the immediate neighbors (residents and businesses included), should be directly involved or provided ample opportunity for their recommendations to ensure the proposed Project is compatible with neighborhood plans and community spirit. The site should be observed in more than one season and at several times of the day and evening to observe lighting, and pedestrian and vehicle traffic patterns. The differences may influence reuse and design parameters. For sites that involve landscaping and gardening, the site should be checked for light and shade patterns, summer heat reflectance, prevailing winds, snow storage areas, soil type and fertility, and drainage. These will influence soil development requirements, plant and tree placement and selection, and drainage and watering needs. Urban gardening for human consumption should address the potential for soils impacted by lead or other contaminants, and use alternative methods or location when necessary. See Part V – Penn State “Lead in Residential Soils” bulletin.

Element 4: Conservation 1. The conservation element includes structural rehabilitation,

preservation and resource recovery.
2.

A more detailed account of community conservation and preservation goals and plans are in progress as of the writing of this report. Those results should be substituted for like information contained in this report when it becomes available.

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3.

Conservation, like prevention and intervention, requires public education and financial support to be effective. Rehabilitation and preservation initiatives benefit property owners directly and are difficult for renters to participate in; absentee owners have a general lack of interest in these opportunities. Surrounding property and residents benefit from the stabilizing effect of conservation. Neighborhoods benefit from the exhibit of investment and enhanced reputation as a good or preferred place to live. Preservation of unique or historic buildings and facilities help to maintain core business or residential districts and can be cultural destination points. Resource recovery is an option for marginal sites or structures that contain unique, period or historic architectural elements worth relocating or storing for future display or rehabilitation. Resource recovery is also the last resort for unique or historic structures that require demolition. The City has authorized the Buffalo Architectural Salvage Committee to perform architectural resource recovery based on an inventory of those resources, (716) 856-4533.

4.

5.

6.

7.

Element 5: Remediation 1. Remediation applies to land, buildings and facilities impacted or

contaminated with listed chemicals or substances (solid, gaseous or liquid) at or above threshold levels set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and/or the N.Y.S. Department of Environmental Conservation and the N.Y. S. Department of Health.
2.

Sites or property requiring remediation before rehabilitation, preservation, reuse or development include: buildings and facilities containing asbestos, petroleum products and other hazardous substances including lead; and listed hazardous waste sites, inactive hazardous waste sites, and brownfield sites. Remediation or clean-up requirements are set by regulatory agencies and based on the actual contaminants present, contaminant levels, treatment options, the potential threat to human health and the environment, and the characteristics of the site itself. These parameters are established in regulated NYSEQRA Phase 1 and 2 environmental assessment procedures. Brownfields represent opportunities for business and industry looking for larger parcels for industrial or commercial uses. Development incentives and regulatory programs are designed to encourage remediation and redevelopment in exchange for liability relief. Community organizations should avoid environmentally impacted sites for community Projects or acquisition.

3.

4.

5.

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Element 6: Demolition 1. Demolition permanently removes a building or facility to its

foundation (or a designated sub-grade depth) through deconstruction or destruction in a manner prescribed by regulations.
2.

Deconstruction is a method of dismantling a structure to recover and recycle reusable materials; the separation of materials enables marketing of some recovered non-contaminated resources (ceramics, gypsum wallboard, brick, copper, metals, wood) and a reduction of solid waste for disposal. Demolition is a procedure of last resort performed in a planned or emergency manner, depending upon the circumstances. Not all demolished structures are previously vacant buildings or facilities. Demolition may be undertaken by the city, or by private landowners under city permit only. The Department of Permits and Inspections, the Planning Board, and the Preservation Board must approve properties proposed for demolition, excluding some emergency demolitions. The demolition process should include site finishing to a useable, shovel ready condition, appropriate for the surrounding land use that ameliorates impacts to surrounding property values, especially in residential areas. A suitable turf or groundcover should be established to improve aesthetics, minimize airborne particles, and minimize runoff.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

Element 7: Vacant Land Reuse or Conversion 1. The reuse or conversion of vacant land should be consistent with city

and community-based planning for the area in which the vacant land is located, and should return the land to appropriate, functional, revenue generating uses or remain natural.
2.

Existing vacant land and projected new vacant land should be assigned near, mid, or long-term redevelopment timeframes to allow for interim or permanent reuses and land assembly opportunities. Until such time that vacant land is reused, it should be maintained and mowed by the property owner(s) to a clean and sanitary condition. New (post-demolition) vacant land should be “finished” with clean topsoil and seeded for grass cover to control soil erosion, reduce runoff, and to reduce airborne particles. An inventory of vacant land and important parcel-based characteristics is essential to track progress, forecast budgetary needs, and to market properties. See “Information and Communication” above. Not all vacant land can or should be developed or redeveloped. Open, undeveloped and natural land – forested, wetland, shoreline, and grassland – serves important functions in the landscape. Vacant

3.

4.

5.

6.

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land proximate to these areas can be reserved for floodplain relief, snow storage, recreation, green space and natural habitat areas.
7.

Interim uses can be put in place until such time that permanent redevelopment of an area is feasible. Interim uses are intended to hold the land in a manageable condition such that the interim use of the land benefits the immediate community and the City of Buffalo. Interim use and management plans may vary depending upon the projected redevelopment timeframes. Interim uses are intended to hold the land in a manageable condition such that the interim use of the land benefits the immediate community and the City of Buffalo.

8.

Land assembly areas require interim reuse and management plans that should be factored into the cost of redevelopment. Impacted or contaminated land (surface or subsurface), buildings and facilities designated for reuse or conversion must be handled according to state and federal regulations. Cleanup and reuse alternatives are site and future use dependent. Brownfield redevelopment programs offer some relief for commercial and industrial redevelopment.

9.

Vacant Land, Buildings and Facilities Asset Management Strategy – FLOW CHART Parts 1-3, following pages.

The “Vacant Land, Buildings and Facilities Asset Management Strategy” flow chart corresponds to the preceding description of the strategy components.

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Vacant Land, Buildings and Facilities Asset Management Strategy Flow Chart

PART 1
ALL PROPERTIES Occupied & Vacant
Central Communication & Information System

Monitoring – All stakeholders

Prevention & Intervention – All stakeholders

Buildings and facilities from PART 2 Vacant Land, Buildings & Facilities

Land from PART 3

Preliminary Evaluation of Subject Sites or Properties ! ! ! ! ! ! ID all subject buildings, facilities and parcels ID current ownership, title, encumbrances ID local goals and preferences for reuse ID all regulatory or programmatic requirements for rehab*, preservation** and reuse ID all city and community plans for redevelopment in subject area ID special districts, incentive zones, restrictions, etc. in subject area

Vacant buildings and facilities continued PART 2

Vacant land continued PART 3

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Vacant, Land Buildings and Facilities Asset Management Strategy Flow Chart

PART 2

Vacant buildings and facilities continued from PART 1

YES

Obtain legal site access

Is access permissible and safe?

NO

Review assets from paper and street only

ASSET LAYER REVIEW

! ! ! ! ! ! !

Additional paper layers Detailed examination of building/facility Green infrastructure Infrastructure, hardscape and utilities – location, condition Land at grade – features, condition Land, subgrade General location and other conditions

Professional or technical assistance may be required.

Rehabilitation - Conversion - Adaptive reuse

YES

Is rehabilitation, preservation or conversion feasible?

NO

Resource recovery & salvage, safety conditions permitting

Return to PART 1

Preservation - Restoration - Adaptive reuse

Demolition Planned or emergency; continued PART 3

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Vacant, Land Buildings and Facilities Asset Management Strategy Flow Chart

PART3

New postdemolition vacant land

Vacant land asset review continued from PART 1

Existing vacant land

YES

Obtain legal site access

Is access permissible or safe?

NO

Review assets from paper and street only

ASSET LAYER REVIEW

! ! ! ! ! ! !

Additional paper layers Detailed examination of building/facility Green infrastructure Infrastructure, hardscape and utilities – location, condition Land at grade – features, condition Land subgrade General location and other conditions

Professional or technical assistance may be required.

Conservation for permanent open land, natural function or recreation

YES

Is reuse, conservation or conversion feasible?
YES NO

NO

Brownfield designation remediation required

RETURN TO PART 1

Immediate reuse or conversion

Projected timeframe Land assembly - interim uses, maintenance & mowing Hazardous waste or conditions – secure site

RETURN TO PART 1

Interim uses, maintenance & mowing

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Appendix 6 – Vacant Lot Homesteading Proposal, Priority Areas 2005 City of Buffalo Homesteading Vacant Lot Provisions – Proposed 12/04 2005 priority areas for homesteading of existing vacant residential and newly vacant residential lots: ! ! ! Definitions: ADJACENT – Sharing a property boundary with an owner-occupied home. AVAILABLE – City-owned vacant property not reserved for development purposes. ELIGIBLE – Within the designated priority areas; low-moderate income areas. QUALIFIED – Purchaser with no outstanding municipal arrears, liens, warrants, etc., and with the resources to pay purchase price and fees. General: The AVAILABLE city-owned, vacant residential lots within the priority boundaries will be presented annually, in bulk ,to the Common Council for pre-approval for transfer to BURA, for transfer to ELIGIBLE, QUALIFIED, adjacent homeowners (owner-occupied only) for the agreed upon purchase price and fees, according to the process set out under the City of Buffalo Urban Homesteading Program. ELIGIBLE, QUALIFIED homeowners outside of the priority areas may purchase AVAILABLE, ADJACENT, city-owned vacant lots in a notification and bid process, the starting price based upon the appraised value. In all cases, the purchaser pays the transfer and other fees to initiate the sales procedures and the agreed upon price of the vacant lot. Summary: Notification of CITY-OWNED vacant lots AVAILABLE for homesteading will go to ADJACENT, ELIGIBLE homeowners (owner-occupied homes only) within the priority areas. Multiple, QUALIFIED, interested purchasers may bid on the subject property beginning at the appraised value. Property will be sold to qualified highest bidder. - OR If no more than one interested buyer, an ELIGIBLE, QUALIFIED single buyer may purchase the vacant property for a sum of $1 under the condition of cleaning (within 6 months) and maintaining (for 3 years) the vacant lot. Homestead Program Contact: City of Buffalo Office of Strategic Planning – Real Estate Director – 716-851-5275 Urban Renewal areas Comprehensive Code Enforcement areas See map for boundaries (next page).

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VACANT PROPERTIES ASSET MANAGEMENT STRATEGY

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The Vacant Land, Buildings and Facilities Asset Management Project and the Vacant Properties Asset Management Strategy was made possible by the generous contribution of time, guidance, and technical and financial resources from the following. Sponsors: ! ! ! ! ! City of Buffalo Office of Strategic Planning Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency Cornell Cooperative Extension Association of Erie County Cornell University Community and Rural Development Institute (CaRDI) Cornell University Cooperative Extension – Community and Economic Vitality

Participating Departments, Agencies and Organizations: ! Mayor Anthony M. Masiello and Administrative Staff ! ! Buffalo Common Council Members and Staff Office of Strategic Planning Real Estate Land Use Planning Analysis Comprehensive Planning Economic Development Environmental Neighborhoods & Housing Administration and Finance Taxation & Assessment Audit & Control Citizens Services Community Services Support Services Clean & Seal Team Mayor’s Impact Team Fire Department Law Department Permit & Inspections Police Public Works – Forestry and Streets & Sanitation Planning Board Preservation Board Buffalo Arts Commission Wellness Institute Good Neighbors Planning Alliance Co-Chairs and Committees Buffalo Environmental Management Commission

! ! ! ! !

! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

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! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority Buffalo Economic Renaissance Corporation (BERC) Buffalo Neighborhood Revitalization Corporation (BNRC) Buffalo Urban Redevelopment Agency (BURA) Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Buffalo Partners for a Livable WNY Buffalo Coalition of Community Gardeners Massachusetts Community Outreach Center Community Action Organization of Erie County Cornell Cooperative Extension of Erie County 4-H Program Partners for Urban Resources and the Environment (PURE) Erie-Niagara:
City of Buffalo Office of Strategic Planning COB Mayor’s Office of Support Services COB Public Works – Parks and Forestry COB Environmental Management Commission Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy Erie Co. Soil and Water Conservation District Erie Co. Department of Environment and Planning NYS Department of Environmental Conservation – Forestry

And local or regional offices of: USDA CSREES Cornell Cooperative USDA Natural Resources Conservation Extension Erie County (PURE lead agency) Service US Environmental Protection Agency USDA Forest Service US Army Corps of Engineers US Housing and Urban Development NY Sea Grant USDI Fish and Wildlife Services

Appreciation is extended to the Buffalo community for their generosity and hospitality in hosting Project meetings and sharing valuable meeting time with the project participants and sponsors. Thank you to the Department of Permits and Inspections for organizing and hosting a very useful and eye-opening reality session of sample vacant properties for our inspection. A special thank you to the following individuals for sharing their support, enthusiasm and knowledge in this special initiative that seeks to improve the quality of life in the City of Buffalo. ! ! ! ! ! ! ! Daniel P. Harris, Exec. Dir., Cornell Cooperative Extension Erie County Chuck Thomas, Dep. Dir., City of Buffalo Office of Strategic Planning David Sengbusch, Dep. Dir., City of Buffalo Office of Strategic Planning Rod Howe, Asst. Dir. Cooperative Extension, Cornell University Don Tobias, Assoc. Prof., Policy Analysis and Mgmt., Cornell University John Whitney, District Conservationist, USDA NRCS Betsy Trometer, US Fish & Wildlife Service

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VACANT PROPERTIES ASSET MANAGEMENT STRATEGY

BIBLIOGRAPHY City of Buffalo Office of Strategic Planning. Queen City in the 21st Century – Buffalo’s Comprehensive Plan. Draft – December 2004. Cornell Cooperative Extension Erie County. Vacant Land, Buildings and Facilities Asset Management Project. A Project Report, January 2004. City of Buffalo. City of Buffalo Master Plan, Phase I: Community /Neighborhood Conditions Summary. November 1998. Appendix E. City of Buffalo Office of Strategic Planning. Analysis data and mapping, 12/09/04. Brophy, Paul C. and Vey, Jennifer S. “Seizing City Assets: Ten Steps to Urban Land Reform.” The Brookings Institution and CEO’s for Cities. Oct. 2002. [Also online] WWW: www.brookings.org “City of Wilmington Vacant Property Registration Fee Program.” [Online] Available WWW: http://www.ci.wilmington.de.us/vacantproperties.htm Atlanta Development Authority. [online] WWW: http://www.atlantada.com Philadelphia Neighborhood Transformation Initiative. [Online] WWW: http://www.brookings.edu/es/urbsn/publications/kromervacant.pdf National Public Radio. “Community Leaders Work to Revitalize Michigan Town (Flint),” Morning Edition. Oct. 21, 2003, [Online] WWW: http:www.npr.org/rundowns/segment.php?wfld+1473155

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