Feb 21, 2013

Bethlehem Steel Demolition Halted Due to Illegally Issued Demo Permit

The Campaign for Greater Buffalo successfully filed an Article 78 today, which placed a temporary restraining order on the demolition of the Bethlehem Steel Administration Building. This petition argues that the City of Lackawanna issued the demolition permit to Gateway Trade Center without performing environmental review as required by the NYS Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR).
Rear of the Admin Building, before the Chemistry Building Demo (Image courtesy of David Torke, fixBuffalo)
As a result, the demolition permit issued was done so illegally and is therefore null and void. The Campaign is seeking a permanent injunction on the demolition of the building until full compliance with SEQR is demonstrated. A hearing is scheduled before Hon. James H. Dillon for Wednesday, February 27th at 9:30 a.m.

Rear of the Admin Building, after the Chemistry Building Demo (Image courtesy of David Torke, fixBuffalo)
“SEQR mandates all agencies of government to prepare an ‘Environmental Impact Statement on any action they propose or approve which may have a significant effect on the environment.’ Even actions which do not require a full Impact Statement, still require careful environmental review and findings,” says Richard Berger, Esq., a local attorney representing The Campaign, “It appears that none was carried out in this instance. We hope that our filing today will halt the demolition of the Administration Building and lead to its ultimate restoration and reuse.”

Image courtesy of David Torke, fixBuffalo
“The City and Gateway should make every attempt to honor workers who spent much of their lives at Bethlehem Steel. Instead, they’re doing all they can to destroy our heritage, and with it the potential that ‘Old North’ has to create jobs and bring people to the shore of Lake Erie. I for one am relieved that there is an engaged group of citizens continuing to fight for justice, and I am proud to stand with them,” said Romaine Lillis, Lackawanna resident and longtime member of the Lackawanna Historical Society.

Demo - Stopped !
Signed Order from the Judge
There is an open lawsuit filed by Lackawanna Industrial Heritage Group (LIHG), heard on February 13, 2013 in Lackawanna City Court, regarding the discovery of a previously withheld structural engineering report concluding that the building is structurally sound and of no immediate danger of collapse, as the City of Lackawanna contends. Hon. Judge Marrano reserved judgment in the case but a verdict is expected soon.

LIHG has stated that they will cooperate with The Campaign for Greater Buffalo in any way needed.

For more information and to stay informed, check out the I’m Steel Standing website. Contact David Torke (fixBuffalo), founding LIHG Member: 716-602-5440 or davidtorke@gmail.com. For additional photos of the building check out David’s Flickr page by clicking here.

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1 comment:

  1. It is important that proper safety and procedures be observed before going through a demo job. Improper ones can lead to possible leaks and area damage depending on what the site originally is.

    That being said, to demolish a heritage site for profit, particularly if it’s still sound and could possibly be converted to a museum or something workable, isn’t really a smart move. Especially for sites that defines what the area used to be or is still known for.