Councilman David Brennan has requested that the Erie County Covention Center Authority provide a "community benefit" for the the project as an additional condition for council approval.
In a prepared statement, Brennan said: A maximum height zoning variance request was granted by Zoning Hearing Board for the Bayfront Convention Center’s planned hotel. The purpose of a maximum height zoning restriction is to limit the height of buildings so that views of our bay will be considered in any waterfront development. Typically, in these types of waterfront height variance requests, a variance is only considered when there are site limitations beyond the developer’s control and a benefit for public is planned within the project scope. Since a "community benefit" proposal for the height variance request was not requested by the zoning board or offered by the ECCCA, I am now requesting that the ECCCA provide a "community benefit" for the this project as an additional condition for Erie City Council approval of the project. A "community benefit" is defined as a condition where the city grants bonuses in heights, density, etc. , in exchange for adding physical features or other options that will benefit the community.
In considering options for a “community benefit”, I researched various site features that would enable more and better quality public access to the water’s edge. I also researched options that would bring something special and unique to our waterfront and create a “sense of place” for Erie residents and visitors. Lastly, I considered the fact that the recently installed public walkway and seawall at the GAF site excluded the planned emergency-use stairs that were shown on the original site development documents submitted to the U.S. Corp of Engineers. Keeping these considerations in mind, I am proposing that the ECCCA add a site stair feature "community benefit" amenity into the scope of the hotel project. I am proposing that the set of stairs be constructed from the public access walkway surrounding the hotel into Presque Isle Bay. This stair will provide the needed emergency access for boats and pedestrians as originally planned and will also provide a "community gathering place" for the public to enjoy the waterfront, in addition to watching the beautiful sunsets over Lake Erie.
We, as elected officials and public authorities, need to set an example for a higher standard of development in our region. A standard that will help make our bayfront a regional destination."
Erie City Council is expected to take a vote on the matter at it's Wednesday night meeting.
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