Buffalo, New York, Green Code Unified Development Ordinance, Article 7.3.4 Best Management Practice

The City of Buffalo, New York’s Unified Development Ordinance now includes a Green Code that requires use of green infrastructure best management practices (BMPs) wherever practical to achieve the Code’s performance-based stormwater retention standards. The ordinance, at Article 7.3.4 of Section 7 on Stormwater, specifies infiltration on-site using bioswales, rain gardens, and other strategies; or stormwater capture and reuse through cisterns, green roofs, and other strategies. The ordinance clarifies the order of preference for stormwater management facilities utilizing BMPs, prioritizing conservation of natural areas before on-site infiltration practices, and on-site infiltration practices before capture and reuse practices. 

By not only creating a performance-based standard for stormwater retention, but also explicitly promoting green infrastructure practices over grey, Buffalo’s Code encourages green infrastructure. Where green infrastructure practices are not possible on-site, the Code then allows green infrastructure off-site, followed by traditional gray stormwater management approaches, followed by an exemption. 

The Green Code translates the principles of Buffalo’s Comprehensive Plan’s into a Land Use Plan that will guide the city’s physical development over the next 20 years. The Land Use Plan is further informed by specific plans for the waterfront and brownfield areas. 

The Mayor’s Office of Strategic Planning is overseeing development of the Green Code.


Publication Date: October 2015

Related Organizations:

  • City of Buffalo, New York

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  • Best practice
  • Regulation

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