Court Gives Go-Ahead To Demolish Historic Buildings Near Canadian Border

Thursday, August 30, 2018 7:55 am
August 2018 - Volume 46 Number 8

An entity created by an international compact between Canada and the United States complied with a New York environmental law when it determined that demolishing several historic properties would have no significant environmental impact--even though the group was probably not required to comply with the law.

Facts: The Campaign for Buffalo History, Architecture and Culture, Inc. (the Campaign) challenged a plan to demolish several historic properties in Buffalo, New York. The properties were owned by the Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority (Bridge Authority), a "product of a compact between New York and Canada, approved by Congress." The Bridge Authority also owns and operates the Peace Bridge that crosses the Niagara River and the plazas on each side of that bridge. In the 1990s, the Bridge Authority acquired the properties in question so that it could demolish them to create a buffer between the Peace Bridge plaza and the adjacent neighborhood.

Three of the properties were eligible for listing as historic structures on the National Register of Historic Properties, but none of them had ever actually been listed. A contributing factor may have been the poor condition of all of the properties. When the Bridge Authority first acquired them in the 1990s, the properties were "boarded up and held for future demolition." They were dilapidated, r[..]