Docstoc

EAF_Part 3_final

Document Sample
EAF_Part 3_final Powered By Docstoc
					          Niagara Falls
Convention and Conference Center
          Civic Project
              Niagara Falls, New York




   State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA)
     Full Environmental Assessment Form (EAF)
               and Supporting Analyses

                       Final
                 13 September 2002

                   Lead Agency:
       NYS Urban Development Corporation d/b/a
        Empire State Development Corporation
                  633 Third Avenue
                New York, NY 10017

                      Contact:
                Rachel Shatz, Director
           Planning & Environmental Review

                    Prepared by:
                                                                                  SEQRA Environmental Assessment Form


                                    PART 3 – EVALUATION OF IMPACTS
                                          TABLE OF CONTENTS


1   INTRODUCTION............................................................................................................... 1

    1.1     Purpose and Need ................................................................................................. 1
    1.2     Description of the Proposed Action..................................................................... 2
    1.3     Nation Casino Gaming at the Niagara Falls Convention and Civic Center .... 13
2   LAND USE...................................................................................................................... 14

    2.1     Existing Conditions ............................................................................................. 14
            2.1.1       Existing Land Use Patterns ................................................................................. 14
            2.1.2       Development Regulations, Plans, and Policies................................................. 14
    2.2     Anticipated Impacts of the Proposed Action .................................................... 19
3   TRANSPORTATION....................................................................................................... 20

    3.1     Roadways ............................................................................................................. 20
            3.1.1       Roadway Network................................................................................................. 20
            3.1.2       Existing Intersection Levels of Service.............................................................. 20
    3.2     Parking Facilities ................................................................................................. 25
    3.3     Transit................................................................................................................... 29
            3.3.1       Public Fixed Route Service ................................................................................. 29
            3.3.2       Niagara Link Service ............................................................................................ 30
            3.3.3       Event/Tourist/Shuttle Service.............................................................................. 30
    3.4     Pedestrian/Bicycle Facilities .............................................................................. 30
            3.4.1       Pedestrian Facilities............................................................................................. 30
            3.4.2       Bicycle Facilities................................................................................................... 30
    3.5     Anticipated Impacts of the Proposed Action .................................................... 31
            3.5.1       Roadways .............................................................................................................. 31
            3.5.2       Parking................................................................................................................... 31
            3.5.3       Transit.................................................................................................................... 33
            3.5.4       Pedestrian/Bicycle Facilities ............................................................................... 33
4   AIR QUALITY ................................................................................................................. 33

    4.1     Existing Conditions ............................................................................................. 33
    4.2     Anticipated Impacts of the Proposed Action .................................................... 33
5   NOISE ............................................................................................................................. 34

    5.1     Existing Conditions ............................................................................................. 34
    5.2     Anticipated Impacts of the Proposed Action .................................................... 34




                                                                   xv                               Final – 13 September 2002
Niagara Falls Convention and Conference Center Civic Project


6    HISTORIC RESOURCES ............................................................................................... 34

     6.1     Existing Conditions ............................................................................................. 34
     6.2     Anticipated Impacts of the Proposed Action .................................................... 35
7    URBAN DESIGN AND VISUAL RESOURCES.............................................................. 35

     7.1     Existing Conditions ............................................................................................. 35
             7.1.1     Project Site ............................................................................................................35
             7.1.2     Street Patterns and Block Shapes ......................................................................35
             7.1.3     Streetscape/Open Space ......................................................................................35
             7.1.4     Building Uses, Shapes, and Forms.....................................................................36
     7.2     Anticipated Impacts of the Proposed Action .................................................... 36
8    HAZARDOUS MATERIALS ........................................................................................... 42

     8.1     Existing Conditions ............................................................................................. 42
             8.1.1     Site and Vicinity Description................................................................................42
             8.1.2     Interviews...............................................................................................................43
             8.1.3     Site Reconnaissance ............................................................................................43
             8.1.4     Historical Use Information ...................................................................................46
             8.1.5     State Standard and Federal Environmental Record Sources...........................46
     8.2     Anticipated Impacts of the Proposed Action .................................................... 49
9    CONSTRUCTION IMPACTS .......................................................................................... 52

10 REFERENCES................................................................................................................ 52


APPENDIX A: Agency Correspondence
APPENDIX B: Traffic Analysis Worksheets
APPENDIX C: Site Reconnaissance Field Notes, Maps, and Photo Log
APPENDIX D: Comments on the Draft Environmental Assessment Form




Final – 13 September 2002                                        xvi
                                                                           SEQRA Environmental Assessment Form


                                                   LIST OF FIGURES
Figure                                                                                                                        Page
Figure 1-1: Site Location ...................................................................................................... 3
Figure 1-2: Conceptual Site Plan ......................................................................................... 5
Figure 1-3: Conceptual Floor Plan (2 Sheets) .................................................................... 7
Figure 2-1: Site Land Use ................................................................................................... 15
Figure 2-2: Surrounding Land Use .................................................................................... 17
Figure 3-1: Existing Transportation Systems................................................................... 21
Figure 3-2: Traffic Analysis Locations .............................................................................. 23
Figure 3-3: Existing Parking Facilities .............................................................................. 27
Figure 7-1: Existing View from Wintergarden Looking East........................................... 39
Figure 7-2: Proposed View from Wintergarden Looking East ........................................ 39
Figure 7-3: Existing View Looking South on Rainbow Boulevard North ....................... 40
Figure 7-4: Proposed View Looking South on Rainbow Boulevard North .................... 40
Figure 7-5: Existing View Looking West Along Old Falls Street Pedestrian Mall ......... 41
Figure 7-6: Proposed View Looking West Along Old Falls Street Pedestrian Mall ...... 41
Figure 8-1: Existing Stand Pipe and Fuel Port on South Side of Falls Street Faire
            Facility.............................................................................................................. 45
Figure 8-2: Fuel Port Cap Noting “Matigual Fuel Gas”.................................................... 45
Figure 8-3: Sites Noted in State Standard and Federal Environmental Record Sources
            Within ¼ Mile of Project Site........................................................................... 50

                                                    LIST OF TABLES
Table                                                                                                                         Page
Table 1-1: Types of Anticipated Events at New Convention Center Facility ................. 12
Table 3-1: Surveyed Parking Occupancy - Selected Public/Commercial Parking
           Facilities ............................................................................................................. 29
Table 3-2: Projected Trip Generation/Distribution - Reuse of Falls Street Faire for
           Convention Center Functions .......................................................................... 32
Table 3-3: Existing & Projected Intersection Levels of Service (LOS)........................... 33
Table 7-1: SEQRA Visual Assessment Matrix .................................................................. 37
Table 8-1: Listings of State Standard and Federal Environmental Record Sources
           Within ½ Mile of Project Site ............................................................................ 47
Table 8-2: Listings of State Standard and Federal Environmental Record Sources
           Within ¼ Mile of Project Site ............................................................................ 51




                                                              xvii                         Final – 13 September 2002
Niagara Falls Convention and Conference Center Civic Project




                            This Page Intentionally Left Blank




Final – 13 September 2002                 xviii
                                                                SEQRA Environmental Assessment Form



1 INTRODUCTION
USA Niagara Development Corporation (USA Niagara), a subsidiary of the New York State Urban
Development Corporation d/b/a Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) is proposing to undertake
the Niagara Falls Convention and Conference Center Civic Project, which involves property acquisition and
building rehabilitation/redevelopment activities to create an interim convention/conference center to replace
the functions of the New York State-owned Niagara Falls Convention and Civic Center (NFCCC).
In Spring of 2002, USA Niagara and the Niagara Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau concluded that the
existing NFCCC is not up to current public assembly standards in terms of quality and has major renovation
needs that hamper the marketability of the facility and the City of Niagara Falls as a convention, tradeshow,
consumer show, conference, and event destination.
In addition, under a draft Nation-State Gaming Compact between the Seneca Nation of Indians (the Nation)
and the State of New York, the State is anticipated to transfer title to the NFCCC to the Nation for use as a
temporary Class III casino facility; a permanent casino would be developed in the vicinity of the NFCCC in a
future phase. The anticipated establishment of a casino in the NFCCC would preclude its continued use as
a convention/conference venue. Such a loss would negatively affect existing hotel and tourism
establishments in downtown Niagara Falls and City revenues and economic activity. Therefore, USA
Niagara believes a replacement convention and conference facility must be established promptly to
maintain anticipated tourism activity.
This full Environmental Assessment Form (EAF) has been prepared in accordance with the requirements of
the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) to determine the environmental
significance of acquisition and renovation of the now vacant Falls Street Faire facility in downtown Niagara
Falls into an interim convention center facility to replace the existing NFCCC. This Part 3 of the EAF
presents supplemental information and analyses to inform ESDC’s determination on whether the proposed
action may have a significant effect on the environment.
Part 3 of the EAF consists of 10 sections. This section presents information on the overall purpose and
need for the proposed action and its specific components. Subsequent sections present information on
existing conditions and anticipated impacts under various environmental categories --- land use and
development; transportation; air quality; noise; historic resources; urban design and visual resources;
hazardous materials; and construction impacts.

1.1   Purpose and Need

In January 2001, Governor George E. Pataki created USA Niagara to promote economic development in
the City of Niagara Falls by leveraging private investment and encouraging growth and renewal of the
tourism industry in the City of Niagara Falls. USA Niagara’s initial efforts involved developing a series of
strategic initiatives to spur redevelopment in the City. In 2001, the agency commissioned Hunter Interests,
Inc. (HII) to assist in the formulation of the development strategy. One element of this strategy is the
redevelopment of the vacant Falls Street Faire facility, which HII determined was a key location along the
Old Falls Street Mall (Hunter Interests, Inc. 2002a).
In Summer of 2002, USA Niagara and the Niagara Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau commissioned HII
to conduct an analysis of potential alternative interim venues to hold conventions, conferences, meetings,
and other high economic impact events in downtown Niagara Falls. This analysis assessed the existing
market strengths and weaknesses for such events compared to other market areas in the Buffalo-Niagara
Region and other areas. HII determined that the existing NFCCC did not meet modern standards for
effectively attracting significant convention business, given that the facility is in need of extensive
renovations. Further, HII concluded that the convention market in Niagara Falls demanded the
establishment of a convention and conference facility, as opposed to the NFCCC multi-purpose civic center
design, which also is intended to host larger venues such as sporting events and concerts (Hunter Interests,
Inc. 2002b).




                                                       1                         Final – 13 September 2002
Niagara Falls Convention and Conference Center Civic Project


HII’s analysis assessed three potential locations for an alternative convention venue in downtown Niagara
Falls: the Falls Street Faire facility; the Nabisco Warehouse facility on Buffalo Avenue; and the Rainbow
Mall facility. All of the potential sites involved reuse and redevelopment of now vacant structures. After
assessing the merits and weaknesses of each location, HII recommended that the Falls Street Faire site
would best meet the objectives for an interim convention and conference center to replace the functions of
the NFCCC (Hunter Interests, Inc. 2002b).
The Falls Street Faire facility was completed in 1990 as an indoor retail and amusement mall with faux
storefronts designed to resemble a typical 1950’s amusement park. The original developer was unable to
attract sufficient merchant interest and after several years of unsuccessful marketing, eventually defaulted
on the bonds that were issued by the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency to finance the project.
The building has remained substantially dormant for the past seven to eight years and was taken in
foreclosure in 2001 by Settco, LLC, the holding company for a Wall Street investment house. The property
has suffered from decay and lack of maintenance as a result of the distressed ownership history and is
currently 100% vacant.
The Falls Street Faire site possesses several physical and locational advantages to support the interim use
as a convention/conference center and to advance USA Niagara’s overall mission to foster economic
development in downtown Niagara Falls. Demolition of existing improvements would be minimal and the
building’s existing design features include column spans of 100 feet, ideally suiting it for flexibility of space
programming demanded by convention center functions. Ceiling heights in the building (30 feet in many
areas) would accommodate the largest of anticipated exhibits associated with the proposed use. The site is
also within a half-block of the currently designated headquarters hotel (i.e., the Holiday Inn Select Hotel)
and walking distance to other downtown hotels, somewhat closer than the current NFCCC.
The proposed action would provide several public benefits, including:
•     Significant improvements to lodging, restaurant, entertainment and retail demand in downtown Niagara
      Falls by better serving existing events and attracting additional high economic impact events;
•     Activating a pedestrian-intensive use along the Old Falls Street Mall, benefiting economic activity and
      creating a greater critical mass of activity in conjunction with other activities and business
      establishments on the Mall;
•     Improving the quality and marketability of downtown Niagara Falls as a convention location;
•     Realizing an economically efficient approach to maintaining convention center capacity in downtown
      Niagara Falls, through re-use of a vacant facility that would minimize disruption to area
      residents/businesses during implementation; and
•     Creation of construction-phase employment, preservation of operation-phase employment, and
      associated secondary economic and public benefits associated with operation of the facility.

1.2     Description of the Proposed Action

The proposed action involves the acquisition of real property and building improvements comprising the
Falls Street Faire facility, situated on three parcels fronting upon the Old Falls Street Pedestrian Mall,
Rainbow Boulevard North, and 3rd Street (101, 201, and 123 Old Falls Street; Section, Block, Lot [SBL]
Nos.159.09-1-7.21, 159.09-1-7.22, and 159.09-1-7.01) (see Figure 1-1). Upon acquisition, USA Niagara
would undertake building renovations and limited site improvements to create a 113,000-square-foot
convention and conference facility consisting of the following components (see Figures 1-2 and 1-3):
•     A 31,000-square-foot exhibition hall;
•     A 17,000-square-foot ballroom;
•     5,000 square feet of pre-function space;
•     32,000 square feet of office/meeting space (22,000 on the ground floor and 10,000 square feet on a
      mezzanine level);




Final – 13 September 2002                          2
Niagara Falls Convention and Conference Center Civic Project




                             THIS PAGE – BACK OF FIGURE 1-1




Final – 13 September 2002                  4
Niagara Falls Convention and Conference Center Civic Project




                             THIS PAGE – BACK OF FIGURE 1-2




Final – 13 September 2002                  6
Niagara Falls Convention and Conference Center Civic Project




                      THIS PAGE – BACK OF FIGURE 1-3 FIRST PAGE




Final – 13 September 2002                  8
Niagara Falls Convention and Conference Center Civic Project




                     THIS PAGE – BACK OF FIGURE 1-3 SECOND PAGE




Final – 13 September 2002                 10
                                                                  SEQRA Environmental Assessment Form




•   6,900 square feet of full-service kitchen facilities;
•   10,500 square feet of support space; and
•   10,600 square feet of retail/restaurant space (5,700- and 4,900-square-foot spaces, respectively)
    fronting upon the Old Falls Street Pedestrian Mall.
Once developed, the State would retain title to the property. It is anticipated that the facility would be
operated by the Niagara Falls Tourism and Convention Corporation, a recently established not-for-profit
organization consisting of a board of directors with representation from the current Convention and Visitors
Bureau, City of Niagara Falls, Niagara County, local hoteliers, and operators of local tourism attractions. It
is anticipated that the facility would host roughly 25-30 events totaling 50 or more event days per year,
ranging in size between 200 and 6,000 attendees per event (see Table 1-1).
While the project essentially involves a replacement of convention/conference functions in kind to a new
location, it is considered a Type I Action pursuant to SEQRA, specifically through its implementing
regulations under 6 NYCRR § 617.5 (b.)(6.)(iv.), which involves activities in non-residential facilities with
more than 100,000 square feet of gross floor space (i.e., in cities with populations of 150,000 or less).
Thus, ESDC, acting as the lead agency, has initiated the preparation of this full SEQRA EAF.
A number of discretionary actions have or will be undertaken by USA Niagara/ESDC prior to
implementation of the project, including:
•   Affirmation of the General Project Plan;
•   Determination and Findings pursuant to the New York State Eminent Domain Procedure Law (EDPL);
•   Acquisition of the site, if necessary through condemnation in accordance with the EDPL; and
•   A formal determination of environmental significance pursuant to SEQRA.
USA Niagara’s Board of Directors has already adopted the proposed General Project Plan and has initiated
property survey activities and conducted appraisals to support the property acquisition actions. USA
Niagara/ESDC will conduct a public hearing to solicit comments on the General Project Plan and property
acquisition plan. Following this public hearing, ESDC will make an environmental determination of
significance and USA Niagara will affirm, or if appropriate, modify the General Project Plan and make
statutory findings under applicable State laws and regulations.




                                                            11                     Final – 13 September 2002
Niagara Falls Convention and Conference Center Civic Project




                                                 Table 1-1
                       Types of Anticipated Events at New Convention Center Facility
                      (Derived From Niagara Falls Civic Center Major Lodging Demand
                   Generating Events Accommodated and Booked in 2002, by Classification)
                                           Total                           Total    Geographic
                                           Event   Guests      Total    Room Nights  Origin of
               Event Type                  Days    per Day   Guest Days Generated   Attendees     Season

Professional Convention and Tradeshows
Enlisted National Guard of United States     4      3,000     12,000      4,000        National   Summer
Fashion Focus (aka Barnum Beauty)            3      6,000     18,000      1,200        Regional    Fall
NYS Middle School Association                3      3,000      9,000       900          State      Fall
Auto License Plate Collectors                3      900        2,700       580         National   Summer
NYC Dance Alliance                           2      1,000      2,000       450         Regional   Spring
I Love Dance                                 2      900        1,800       275         Regional   Spring
Dance Educators                              2      800        1,600       200         Regional   Winter
Convention and Tradeshow Total               19    15,600     47,100      7,605           -         -
Social, Military, Educational, Religious, & Fraternal (SMERF) Conventions and Events
Youth For Christ                             3      6,000     18,000      3,593        National   Winter
Philadelphia Church of God                   10     600        6,000      2,000        National    Fall
Niagara Winterfest                           3      4,500     13,500      1,180        Regional   Winter
Diocese of Buffalo                           3      1,000      3,000       600         Regional   Winter
SMERF Total                                  19    12,100     40,500      7,373           -         -
Consumer Shows
Triple S Sporting Supplies                   2      700        1,400       350         Regional   Winter
Consumer Show Total                          2      700        1,400       350
Performance & Sporting Events
Rainbow Classic Dog Show                     3      3,000      9,000      1,020    International Winter
National YMCA Women’s Gymnastics             5      4,200     21,000      7,000        National   Summer
American Dance Awards Competition            2      225         450        106         Regional   Spring
Performance Total                            10     7,425     30,450      8,126
Total                                        50    35,825     119,450     23,454          -         -
Source: Hunter Interests, Inc. 2002b




Final – 13 September 2002                    12
                                                                 SEQRA Environmental Assessment Form



1.3   Nation Casino Gaming at the Niagara Falls Convention and Civic Center

Chapter 383 of the Laws of 2001 and the proposed Nation-State Gaming Compact (the Compact) to be
entered into between the State of New York and the Nation pursuant to such Chapter, mandate the transfer
of the NFCCC site to the Nation for casino gaming and related uses. The Compact governs how, when and
in what forms casino gaming will be introduced and conducted. Neither ESDC nor USA Niagara has
authority or discretion over any such matters or any other uses or facilities at the NFCCC site. Therefore,
the transfer of the NFCCC to the Nation for gaming and related purposes is a ministerial action that involves
no exercise of discretion on the part of either ESDC or USA Niagara. Further, the overall design, scale,
anticipated visitors and other characteristics of the casino and related facilities proposed for the NFCCC site
have yet to be determined and, therefore, are unknown to ESDC and USA Niagara, making meaningful
consideration of such characteristics in this environmental review impossible.
Any public infrastructure improvements (e.g., street or other public transportation projects) that are
determined necessary in areas outside the NFCCC or other lands transferred to the Nation under the
Compact would be subject to environmental review under either SEQRA or the National Environmental
Policy Act (NEPA). Such review would consider the cumulative effects of all uses and projects as part of its
environmental assessment of key issues in this urban setting, such as land use, traffic generation, air
quality, and noise analysis.
Finally, for the reasons set forth above, ESDC or USA Niagara decisions regarding the proposed action
cannot in any way restrict, affect, or alter the ultimate decisions regarding the Compact, the introduction and
conduct of casino gaming and related uses and facilities activities at the NFCCC.




                                                       13                         Final – 13 September 2002
Niagara Falls Convention and Conference Center Civic Project



2 LAND USE

2.1     Existing Conditions

2.1.1 Existing Land Use Patterns

The Falls Street Faire facility is situated on a 3.15-acre area covering three parcels fronting the Old Falls
Street Pedestrian Mall in downtown Niagara Falls. The structure housing Falls Street Faire is currently
vacant. The building covers approximately 80 percent of the property; the balance of the land comprising
the site is currently a vacant, unpaved area along the structure’s southern face (see Figure 2-1)
Surrounding land use in downtown Niagara Falls is influenced predominantly by the Niagara Falls State
Park, which encompasses a large area on the perimeter of the downtown area. Other land uses within the
downtown core are primarily commercial in nature, including tourist-related facilities such as hotels, parking
and retail space.
Figure 2-2 depicts existing land use patterns in downtown Niagara Falls, particularly around the project site.
The tourist nature of downtown Niagara Falls is reflected in the surrounding land use patterns. While there
is an overall mix of land use, the predominant land uses in the vicinity of Falls Street Faire are hotels, office
buildings, and parking lots. The area immediately adjacent to the Falls Street Faire facility is devoted to
parks and recreation, including the Wintergarden, the Falls Street Station development, the Old Falls Street
Pedestrian Mall, and the E. Dent Lackey Plaza. A surface parking lot is located directly south of the facility.
Major hotels are also in proximity to the project site, including the 397-room Holiday Inn Select, the largest
hotel in Niagara Falls and the designated headquarters hotel for convention activities.

2.1.2 Development Regulations, Plans, and Policies

2.1.2.1    Zoning Regulations

The Falls Street Faire site is located within the Downtown Commercial District (DCD) under the City of
Niagara Falls Zoning Ordinance (City of Niagara Falls 2000). The regulations for this district permit (either
as-of-right or with a special permit) a range of retail and commercial uses, including the following:
•     Retail stores;
•     Restaurants;
•     Theaters and other places of public assembly;
•     Hotels/Motels;
•     Professional offices;
•     Libraries/Museums;
•     Dormitories; and
•     Auto rental offices.
DCD regulations require a minimum lot width of 40 feet, and permit maximum lot coverage of 90% (for
commercial buildings) and a maximum building height of 20 stories or 200 feet.
Section 1330 of the Zoning Ordinance regulates the provision of required off-street parking facilities
associated with new land uses. Off street parking regulations for public assembly uses require one parking
space per three seats or one space for each 100 sq. feet of gross floor area. In this case, this would equate
to 1,154 parking spaces for the proposed reuse of the Falls Street Faire facility. Section 1330.06 of the
regulations allow for a waiver of all off-street parking requirements in the DCD if a project site is within 500
feet of a City-operated parking facility with adequate capacity (see Section 3.5.2).

2.1.2.2    Rainbow Center Urban Renewal Plan

The Falls Street Faire site is also located within the “Rainbow Center Project” Urban Renewal Area (URA),
one of four designated URA’s in the City of Niagara Falls. The Final Plan for the Rainbow Center Project



Final – 13 September 2002                         14
Niagara Falls Convention and Conference Center Civic Project




                             THIS PAGE – BACK OF FIGURE 2-1




Final – 13 September 2002                 16
Niagara Falls Convention and Conference Center Civic Project




                             THIS PAGE – BACK OF FIGURE 2-2




Final – 13 September 2002                 18
                                                                   SEQRA Environmental Assessment Form




URA dates back to April 1974 and addresses land use and building requirements for land areas acquired in
the URA.
The development requirements for an urban renewal area usually override those set forth in local zoning.
However, in practice, the City of Niagara Falls typically applies the more stringent of the regulations where
the zoning ordinance and URA regulations differ (DeSantis 2002). The development regulations for the
Rainbow Center URA permit several residential, commercial, and public/quasi-public land uses.
Convention centers are listed as a permitted use in the district. The regulations also set forth off-street
parking requirements; for public assembly uses, these include the provision of one parking space for every
six seats in a facility. Insofar as the use to be developed under the proposed action does not include fixed
seating, such a calculation is not possible. Thus, provisions of the zoning ordinance were applied to
determine off-street parking demand.

2.1.2.3    Achieving Niagara Falls Future

In the Spring of 2002, the City of Niagara Falls, in conjunction with the Urban Design Project at the
University at Buffalo, published Achieving Niagara Falls Future, An Assessment of Niagara Falls’ Waterfront
Planning (Urban Design Project 2002). The report is not a new plan per se, but rather assesses proposals
set forth in roughly a dozen plans prepared over two decades to prioritize and identify strategic steps
necessary to move these items to phased implementation. This effort was conducted in the context of an
extensive public involvement effort to identify what projects can be done now and what would require more
time to refine, fund and implement. It identified and prioritized 46 discreet projects totaling almost $145
million driven by three primary principles:
•     Reconnecting the City of Niagara Falls to the Niagara River waterfront;
•     Repair and improve the urban and natural environment for residents and visitors; and
•     Develop the means and projects to tell the compelling story of the city/region to help build visitorship
      and community pride.
The report does not specifically identify the Falls Street Faire as a project, but does identify several public
projects intended to enhance the pedestrian environment and street life along the Old Falls Street corridor.

2.2     Anticipated Impacts of the Proposed Action

The proposed action would result in positive land use impacts associated with the renovation and reuse of
the Falls Street Faire facility as an interim convention center. The reuse of the Falls Street Faire facility
would have positive impacts on the project site and represent a suitable reuse of an existing facility.
The proposed action would also result in positive impacts to surrounding uses and development patterns.
The location of a convention/conference center use on the project site would place a critical mass of activity
closer to hotels and other downtown attractions. Further, activity in the facility would place a pedestrian
intensive use along the Old Falls Street Pedestrian Mall, making the area more suitable for other urban
street uses on adjacent (e.g., sidewalk cafes, retail establishments, street vendors, etc.) Such positioning
of complementary mixed-use development would significantly contribute to a vibrant urban street life.
The proposed action is consistent with the purposes and intents of local development regulations and
policy statements. Actions by state agencies are typically exempt from local development regulations.
Nevertheless, the development envisioned under the proposed action is consistent with development
regulations, both under the City’s Zoning Regulations and its development controls for the Rainbow Center
URA. While the former does not specifically permit convention/conference centers as principal use, it does
permit places of public assembly and components uses of convention facilities (e.g., dining facilities,
catering, offices, etc.). Finally, the proposed action also is consistent with the overall intent of the
Achieving Niagara Falls Future document, by reactivating a dormant section of the downtown area along
the Old Falls Street Mall.




                                                         19                         Final – 13 September 2002
Niagara Falls Convention and Conference Center Civic Project


3 TRANSPORTATION
Downtown Niagara Falls and the Falls Street Faire site in particular is served by various transportation
modes including auto, public/private transit and bicycle/pedestrian facilities. Figure 3-1 depicts the primary
surface transportation modes available around the project site.

3.1     Roadways

3.1.1 Roadway Network

Highway access from both the north and south to downtown Niagara Falls is provided via the Niagara
Section of the New York State Thruway (I-190) and the Robert Moses Parkway (State Route 957A). In
addition access to downtown from the west (Niagara Falls, Ontario) is provided via the Rainbow Bridge.
Local street access to Falls Street Faire site is provided via Rainbow Boulevard North (1st Street), which
runs one way northbound on the west side of the facility. Access to both the City of Niagara Falls Rainbow
Center and Rainbow Mall parking structures is also provided on Rainbow Boulevard North. On the east
side of the facility, 3rd Street provides two-way access to the site and the Niagara Falls Rainbow Center
parking structure.

3.1.2 Existing Intersection Levels of Service

A detailed analysis of the traffic and intersection operations in the local roadway network was conducted as
part of the relocation of the convention center activities analysis. The analysis identified the levels of
service at seven key signalized intersections within the downtown Niagara Falls study for existing and event
conditions during a peak hour traffic period (See Figure 3-2). Levels of service are defined as a measure of
potential operational conditions at an intersection for various turning movements, ranging from a grade of
“A” (indicating free-flow conditions) to a grade of “F” (indicating stop-and-go movements, and extensive
restrictions in maneuverability). In urban areas, a level of service “D” is considered the lowest acceptable
grade for intersection operations.
The seven intersections were selected based upon their proximity to the project site and along key entry
and exit routes to and from downtown Niagara Falls. They included the following:
•     Rainbow Boulevard South and Niagara Street (at the Rainbow Bridge Plaza);
•     Rainbow Boulevard North (First Street) and Niagara Street;
•     Third Street and Niagara Street;
•     John Daly Boulevard and Niagara Street;
•     John Daly Boulevard and Rainbow Boulevard;
•     Third Street and Rainbow Boulevard; and
•     Rainbow Boulevard North (First Street) and Rainbow Boulevard.
The analysis was conducted using intersection turning movement volumes collected on July 20, July 27,
and August 3, 2002. In addition, it utilized documented traffic volume information; signal timing and
operation information; trip generation rates; existing travel patterns within and into the existing roadway
network; and roadway geometry. The Synchro Version 5.0 traffic simulation computer model was used to
conduct the level of service analysis, employing the methods of the Institute of Traffic Engineers Highway
Capacity Manual. The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) was contacted to confer
on the methodology and approach to conducting the analysis.
In order to adequately perform the analysis, the identification of the roadway network peak-hour traffic
period was necessary. Due to the high tourist traffic in the downtown Niagara Falls, the typical AM and PM
weekday commuter peak hour traffic situations do not represent the heaviest traffic periods. To facilitate
determination of an appropriate peak hour considering the unique characteristics in Niagara Falls, 24-hour



Final – 13 September 2002                        20
Niagara Falls Convention and Conference Center Civic Project




                             THIS PAGE – BACK OF FIGURE 3-1




Final – 13 September 2002                 22
Niagara Falls Convention and Conference Center Civic Project




                             THIS PAGE – BACK OF FIGURE 3-2




Final – 13 September 2002                 24
                                                                 SEQRA Environmental Assessment Form


traffic count data obtained from NYSDOT at 21 locations in and around the downtown area for the period
from August 20, 2001 to October 26, 2001 were reviewed (NYSDOT 2001).
The NYSDOT information was summarized by day and by the hour, allowing for the identification of both
the highest traffic volume day of the week and the peak hour period within that day. A review of the
information indicated that the roadway network experiences the highest amount of daily traffic on Saturday
and Sunday as compared to the remainder of the weekdays. Furthermore, Sunday traffic volumes are
typically around 20% lower than those experienced on Saturday, strongly indicating that peak daily traffic
volumes occur on Saturday in the study area. A review of the Saturday hourly traffic volume summaries at
locations within the study area indicated that the peak traffic period occurs between 3:00 PM and 7:00 PM,
generally reaching its highest level in the hour beginning at 5:00 PM. Detailed traffic volume turning
movement counts were conducted during this period on a series of Saturdays to obtain peak hour
intersection traffic information. These counts were conducted when no events were being held in the
existing NFCCC to avoid double counting of projected traffic. Summaries of the turning movement counts
are included in Appendix B of this report.
Results of the analysis indicate acceptable operations and levels of service at all study area intersections
during the existing Saturday peak-hour period. Overall, intersection levels of service for existing peak hour
Saturday conditions at the key intersections range between “A” to “C”, with one intersection having a grade
of “D” (Niagara Street and 3rd Street).

3.2   Parking Facilities

The Falls Street Faire site does not contain any off-street parking facilities, though it is within 500 feet of
two major, downtown parking structures, one operated by the City of Niagara Falls (1,500 spaces) and one
associated with the Rainbow Mall (1,600 spaces) (see Figure 3-3). These garages offer only daily parking
for a fee of $8.00 and monthly permits for $30.00. Smaller, free-of-charge, City surface parking lots are
located south of the project site. A 400-space, privately operated surface lot is located within one city block
of the site at Niagara Street and Rainbow Boulevard North. Several of the larger office and hotel
establishments in downtown Niagara Falls also maintain off-street parking facilities for patrons. Additionally
a limited number of on-street parking spaces are available nearby on Rainbow Boulevard North, Niagara
Street, and 3rd Street.
To determine existing average peak occupancy of publicly accessible parking facilities in the vicinity of the
project site, an occupancy survey was conducted on July 27 and August 3, 2002. The time of the surveys
was determined through cursory interviews with public parking garage and commercial lot operators.
These operators indicated that weekend midday periods during the summer (i.e., 12:00 noon – 2:00 PM)
generally exhibit the highest levels of parking occupancy in downtown lots; occupancy tends to drop off in
later hours on weekend days. Overall, like traffic levels, operators indicated that weekend parking levels
were significantly higher than weekday periods.
Table 3-1 presents existing parking facility occupancy levels recorded during the survey. As is shown, both
the Rainbow Center and Rainbow Mall parking garages exhibit a relatively low occupancy. On average,
these facilities had almost 1,300 and 1,140 spaces available respectively. The City surface lots exhibited
the highest occupancy, most likely because they are free of charge. The privately operated lot at Niagara
and Rainbow Boulevard North exhibited a higher occupancy than the parking garages, likely attributable to
a slightly lower daily fee and because the operator allows patrons “in-an-out” privileges.




                                                       25                         Final – 13 September 2002
Niagara Falls Convention and Conference Center Civic Project




                              This Page Intentionally Left Blank




Final – 13 September 2002                 26
Niagara Falls Convention and Conference Center Civic Project




                             THIS PAGE – BACK OF FIGURE 3-3




Final – 13 September 2002                 28
                                                                  SEQRA Environmental Assessment Form




                                            Table 3-1
                                  Surveyed Parking Occupancy
                          Selected Public/Commercial Parking Facilities
                                    Downtown Niagara Falls
                                                 Mid-Day            Mid-Day
                                                Weekend            Weekend
              Facility           Capacity                                           Average
                                               Occupancy          Occupancy
                                 (Spaces)                                           Percent
                                               27 July 2002       3 Aug 2002
                                                                                   Occupancy
       Niagara Falls                  1,500               210                198         13.6%
       Rainbow Center
       Parking Structure
       (Ramp I – Niagara
       Street Between
       Rainbow Blvd. North
       & 3rd Street)
       Rainbow Mall                   1,600               410                513         28.8%
       Parking Structure
       (Ramp II – Niagara
       Street Between
       Rainbow Blvd, North
       & Rainbow Boulevard
       South)
       City Surface Lot                  46                  45               40         92.4%
       (Rainbow Blvd.
       North)
       City Surface Lot                 100                  90               97         93.5%
       (Rainbow Blvd. & 1st
       Street)
       Commercial Parking               400               227                286        64.12%
       Lot (Niagara St. &
       Rainbow Blvd.)



3.3     Transit

3.3.1 Public Fixed Route Service

The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) provides weekday and weekend fixed route transit
service in the City of Niagara Falls. Several Metro bus routes serve the downtown Niagara Falls area. The
NFTA provides this service through its Niagara Falls International Transportation Center (NFITC), located
on Niagara Street near 4th Street, in close proximity to the Falls Street Faire site. The NFITC also serves as
a staging point for intercity commercial bus carriers.
Three NFTA Metro public transportation routes pass along the east and west sides of the project site.
Scheduled Metro Bus service via stops on 3rd Street and Rainbow Boulevard North is provided on:
•     Route 53- Niagara, which provides service to the eastern portion of the City of Niagara Falls along the
      Niagara Street corridor;




                                                        29                         Final – 13 September 2002
Niagara Falls Convention and Conference Center Civic Project


•     Route 54- Military Road, which provides service to the northwest and northern portion of the City via
      Main Street and Military Road; and
•     Route 40- Grand Island, which provides service south to downtown Buffalo via Buffalo Avenue and
      I-190.

3.3.2 Niagara Link Service

NFTA has recently initiated Metro Link (i.e., local circulator) trolley bus service throughout downtown
Niagara Falls connecting to the American Falls. The service is free of charge and is operated year round,
seven days per week. It is coordinated with operations of the Niagara Falls State Park Viewmobile service
(operated by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation). Service levels are
adjusted seasonally peaking at 17-hour a day service with 10-minute headways (i.e., the time between each
trolley run) in the summer. During the spring season, service is offered 13 hours per day on weekdays and
15 hours a day on weekends with 20-minute headways. In the off-peak fall and winter season, service will
be reduced to 12 hours per day with 35-40 minute headways.
Trolley stops are located throughout downtown Niagara Falls. Near Falls Street Faire site, there are stops
located on both Rainbow Boulevard North (near the Old Falls Street Mall) and on 3rd Street (in front of the
Holiday Inn Select Hotel).

3.3.3 Event/Tourist/Shuttle Service

A number of private operators provide guide tours in and around Niagara Falls including Gray Line, Apex
Transportation Services and Niagara Majestic Tours. Most offer shuttle services to location attractions as
well as to Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

3.4     Pedestrian/Bicycle Facilities

3.4.1 Pedestrian Facilities

The pedestrian network in downtown Niagara Falls is largely influenced by the Niagara Falls State Park.
The Old Falls Street Mall serves as the main pedestrian spine through downtown Niagara Falls, beginning
at the historic main entrance of the Niagara Falls State Park, passing through the Wintergarden and E. Dent
Lackey Plaza, terminating at the main entrance to the NFCCC front on 4th Street.
The north side of the Falls Street Faire site fronts upon the Old Falls Street Mall. The Mall is well
landscaped and equipped with pedestrian enhancements such as bench seating. To the east of the project
site on Rainbow Boulevard North and to the west on 3rd Street, traditional pedestrian facilities are provided
such as sidewalks and crosswalks.
NYSDOT is currently implementing a program of localized pedestrian improvements at key intersections in
downtown Niagara Falls. This involves the construction of enhanced decorative crosswalks (colored
textured concrete in a brick paver pattern) at key intersections along Rainbow Boulevard (at 1st, 3rd, and 4th
Streets) and Niagara Street (at Rainbow Boulevard South, Rainbow Boulevard North, 3rd Street, and 4th
Street) as well as new crosswalks and landscaping along Prospect Street where the downtown area meets
the Niagara Falls State Park.

3.4.2 Bicycle Facilities

Two designated bicycle facilities are currently available in downtown Niagara Falls. NY Bike Route 5 runs
along Walnut and Ferry Streets (US Route 62) into downtown Niagara Falls, two blocks north of the project
site. Additionally, a recreational multi-use trail is available for biking along the Niagara Falls Riverwalk. The
Riverwalk is a 5.5-mile recreational trail running between Niagara Falls and the Town of Porter. Because
bike riding is prohibited through Niagara Falls State Park, a spur of the trail runs through downtown Niagara
Falls along John Daly Boulevard to Niagara Street one block north of the Falls Street Faire site.




Final – 13 September 2002                         30
                                                                   SEQRA Environmental Assessment Form


3.5   Anticipated Impacts of the Proposed Action

3.5.1 Roadways

The Synchro traffic analysis indicated that the proposed action would not result in any significant
deterioration of levels of service at any of the key intersections around the project site. Projected traffic
flows resulting from convention center events being relocated to the Falls Street Faire were identified and
applied to the existing roadway network. The traffic data at key intersections during existing peak hour
periods was overlaid with projected traffic generated under an assumed large event scenario based on
convention center information discussed in Section 1 (see Table 1-1). The use of such a scenario was
selected to determine the most intensive potential traffic situation --- a large event occurring in the peak
traffic period during the summer tourist season. It should be noted however that the majority of anticipated
events would be smaller than that described under these assumptions.
A summary of the assumptions use for the large event scenario is presented in Table 3-2. The results of
the traffic generation projected indicated that a peak event held at a relocated convention center location
would generate approximately 1,440 vehicular trips. These vehicular trips would utilize the existing
roadway network to approach and depart the study area. Traffic distribution patterns were determined for
the trips generated by the Falls Street Faire site based upon existing traffic patterns in the study area.
Detailed intersection specific additional traffic volumes were determined using these identified travel
patterns.
Analysis of the traffic operations reflecting a Saturday peak hour period with event traffic was then
conducted. The analysis included the overlay of convention center approach and departure traffic to the
study area roadway network based on the trip distribution summary shown in Table 3-2. Results of the
analysis indicate that while the convention center event traffic would significantly increase the number of left
turn and through movements at a number of the key intersections in the study area, overall levels of service
would remain within acceptable limits, ranging from “A” to “D” during the peak hour. A summary of the
identified intersection levels of service under an event traffic condition is show in Table 3-3.
It should be noted that anticipated traffic levels to the Falls Street Faire site using the above worst-case
scenario assumptions would add to the left turn movements from northbound John B. Daly Boulevard to
westbound Rainbow Boulevard (i.e., for incoming traffic from the south via the Robert Moses Parkway).
Minor revisions to the signal phasing to lengthen the advance left turn phase at the intersection would help
to improve the flow of the left turn movement and also the overall operation of this intersection. This is
considered very minor adjustment to traffic operations at the intersection and should be monitored to
identify actual requirements after implementation, considering that the majority of events to be held at the
proposed facility would typically have lower peak-hour traffic levels.

3.5.2 Parking

The proposed action would not result in any significant impacts to parking availability in downtown Niagara
Falls, and particularly in the vicinity of the project site. As discussed in Section 2.1.2, the City of Niagara
Falls Zoning Ordinance would require the provision of 1,154 off-street parking spaces associated with the
reuse of the Falls Street Faire for convention and conference purposes.
As previously discussed, the regulations also allow for a waiver of all off-street parking requirements if a
project site is within 500 feet of a City-operated parking facility with adequate capacity. Existing occupancy
counts taken indicate a weekend surplus capacity in excess of 2,400 in the two City-operated parking
structures in close vicinity of the project site. In addition, it is reasonable to anticipate that parking demands
would be somewhat lower given the often tourist-oriented nature of a convention facility. Patrons of the
center, if they are lodging in downtown Niagara Falls, would likely take advantage of free, private lots
associated with several of the hotels, rather than drive to the Falls Street Faire site.




                                                        31                          Final – 13 September 2002
Niagara Falls Convention and Conference Center Civic Project




                                              Table 3-2
                              Projected Trip Generation/Distribution
                    Reuse of Falls Street Faire for Convention Center Functions
                                       Large Event Scenario
                                           Site Information
a. Land Use:                                                         Convention Center
b. Square Footage of Facility:                                       113,000 SF
c. Peak Event Attendance:                                              6,000 Persons
                              Peak Traffic Period & Scenario Assumptions
a. Event Type                                                       Opening night of a major event
                                                                 at facility, such a keynote reception.
b. Peak Weekend Traffic Period:                                             SAT 3:00 - 7:00 PM
c. Convention Attendee Arrivals During Peak Period              75% x 6,000 = 4,500 Persons
    (i.e., 25% Arrive at Hotels Outside of Peak Period)
                                       Weekend Peak Trip Generation
a. Assumed Average Occupancy per Vehicle                                   2 Persons
b. Assumed Average Transit/Shuttle Use Ratio                             0.5 Persons
c. Assumed Cumulative Automobile Occupancy Ratio                         2.5 Persons/Vehicle
    including Transit/Shuttle Use (a. + b.)
d. Auto Trips Generated by Event During Peak                          1,800 Auto Trips Occurring
    3:00 – 7:00 PM Saturday Period                                           Between 3:00 – 7:00 PM
    (4,500 Attendees ÷ 2.5 persons/vehicle)                                  the Day of Event
e. Assumed Auto Trips Occurring During                                1,440 Auto Trips Occurring in
    Highest Single Peak Hour (80%)                                           Highest Single Hour in
    (1,800 Trips x 80%)                                                      the Above Peak Period
f. Directional Distribution:    95% Entering the convention           1,368 Auto Trips
                                center area (1,440 Trips x 95%)
                                5% Exiting the convention center         72 Auto Trips
                                area (1,440 Trips x 5%)
        Assumed Distribution - Based Upon Typical Average Daily Traffic on Downtown Streets
       Origin/Destination                Percentage               Entering              Exiting
Robert Moses Pkwy/                          70%                     958                   50
John B. Daly Blvd - South
Niagara Street - East                         5%                       68                   4
Main Street/                                 10%                      137                   7
Robert Moses Pkwy - North
Rainbow Bridge - Canada                      5%                       68                    4
Robert Moses Pkwy/1st Street                 10%                      137                   7
            TOTAL                           100%                      1,368                72




Final – 13 September 2002                    32
                                                                  SEQRA Environmental Assessment Form




                                                 Table 3-3
                                          Existing and Projected
                                      Intersection Levels of Service
                                                                  Weekend Peak Hour
                                                                   Level Of Service

             Intersection                                                          Projected Saturday
                                                     Existing Saturday                 With Event
Niagara St. & Rainbow Blvd. SB                                C                             C
Niagara St. & 1st St./Rainbow Blvd. NB                        B                             B
Niagara St. & 3rd St.                                         D                             D
Niagara St. & John Daly Blvd.                                 B                             C
Rainbow Blvd. & John Daly Blvd.                               C                             C*
Rainbow Blvd. & 3rd St.                                       B                             B
Rainbow Blvd. & 1st St.                                       C                             C
* With Minor Traffic Signal Timing Modification.

3.5.3 Transit

The proposed action would not result in any significant adverse impacts to transit service in downtown
Niagara Falls. The site is already well served by existing routes and the proposed site plan would include
an area for curbside staging for public/private transit vehicles.

3.5.4 Pedestrian/Bicycle Facilities

The proposed action would not result in any adverse impacts to pedestrian or bicycle facilities. Positive
impacts to pedestrian access would be realized as a result of shortening travel paths for convention patrons
between the proposed facility and other downtown attractions.


4 AIR QUALITY

4.1   Existing Conditions

Under the provisions of the Clean Air Act, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established
standards for six air contaminants: carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, ozone, particulate matter, lead, and
sulfur dioxide. Analyses for new development typically assess impacts from both stationary (i.e., fixed
sources such as stacks for boilers, venting for equipment involving combustion, etc.) and mobile sources
(i.e., induced traffic). The renovation of the Falls Street Faire for use as a convention and conference
center would not involve the establishment of any new stationary sources of air emissions. Therefore, for
purposes of this EAF, potential mobile source emissions of carbon monoxide associated with induced traffic
were considered.

4.2   Anticipated Impacts of the Proposed Action

The proposed action would not result in any significant short or long-term air quality impacts. Air emissions
for mobile sources would not result in any significant changes in concentrations of ground-level carbon
monoxide during peak traffic periods. NYSDOT screening criteria for air quality analyses set forth in its
Environmental Procedures Manual require detailed analysis only when projected intersection levels of
service deteriorate from “A” or “B” to a level of service “D” or less. Traffic analyses conducted and
presented in Section 2 indicate no deterioration in levels of service at key intersections in downtown
Niagara Falls.


                                                      33                         Final – 13 September 2002
Niagara Falls Convention and Conference Center Civic Project


5 NOISE

5.1     Existing Conditions

Noise is generally defined as sound that is greater than background sound levels, typically measured in
decibels (dB). The noise environment in outdoor areas in the United States can be highly variable; different
areas vary over a range of 50 dB. Levels as low as 30 to 40 dB occur in wilderness areas and as high as
85 to 90 dB in urban areas (EPA 1974).
Primary sources of outdoor noise in downtown Niagara Falls and around the project involve helicopter noise
associated with tour flights around the Falls originating from helipad facilities downtown and from peak-hour
traffic flows.

5.2     Anticipated Impacts of the Proposed Action

The proposed action would not result in any significant short or long-term noise impacts. The proposed
reuse of the Falls Street Faire facility would not involve the creation of any potential new noise sources. In
addition, anticipated changes in peak-hour traffic would not result in any significant noise impacts.


6 HISTORIC RESOURCES

6.1     Existing Conditions

The most significant historic resource within the City of Niagara Falls is the Niagara Falls State Park, which
is listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places. Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and
originally called the Niagara Reservation, it is the first state park established in the United States. It was
created in 1885 in response to concerns expressed by the Free Niagara Movement, a group dedicated to
the protection of the Falls. This group felt that private land purchases and development in and around the
Falls at this time were significantly impeding public access and moreover were affecting the Falls’ natural
setting and context (New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation 2002). The main
entrance to the park is at the western terminus of the Old Falls Street Mall, two blocks from the Falls Street
Faire site.
The Falls Street Faire facility itself is not eligible for listing on the State and National Registers of Historic
Places and no other structures in the vicinity of the project site are currently listed or have been officially
determined to be eligible for listing. A series of nearby buildings have been determined to meet at least one
of the requirements of Register listing (i.e., structures greater than 50 years old). These include:
•     St. Peter’s Episcopal Church (built in 1873), which is located on Rainbow Boulevard, 175 feet south of
      the project site;
•     The Niagara Hotel (built in 1924), which is located on the corner of Rainbow Boulevard and Rainbow
      Boulevard North, 150 south of the project site;
•     The United Office Building (built in 1929), which is located on Rainbow Boulevard, 50 feet west of the
      project site;
•     The First Presbyterian Church (built in 1849), which is located on Rainbow Boulevard North, 200 feet
      north of the project site, and
•     The Fleet Bank Building (built ca. 1925), which is located on 3rd Street, directly adjacent to the east side
      of the project site.
No major excavation is associated with the proposed action other than limited grading and paving; therefore
a review of the area’s potential for encountering archaeological resources is not warranted.




Final – 13 September 2002                          34
                                                                  SEQRA Environmental Assessment Form


6.2   Anticipated Impacts of the Proposed Action

The proposed action would not result in any impacts to sites or buildings listed or eligible for listing on the
State or National Registers of Historic Places. The Niagara Falls State Park would not be visible from the
project site, thus it would not be directly or indirectly affected by the proposed action. Regarding non-listed
resources that meet at least one of the State or National Register criteria, the proposed action would
improve the overall context of these properties by improving the overall visual character of this section of
downtown (see Section 7).
ESDC consulted with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (OPRHP),
(i.e., the designated State Historic Preservation Office under Section 106 of the National Historic
Preservation Act and Section 14.09 of the New York State Historic Preservation Act) regarding potential
effects of the proposed action on historic resources. OPRHP’s review of the project resulted in a
determination that the proposed action will have no effect of properties on or eligible for listing on the State
and National Registers of Historic Places. OPRHP’s letter of determination is included in Appendix A.


7 URBAN DESIGN AND VISUAL RESOURCES

7.1   Existing Conditions

7.1.1 Project Site

The Falls Street Faire site is located along the Old Falls Street Mall in downtown Niagara Falls. The
structure is a manufactured metal building type with an exterior insulation and finish system (EIFS) facade
on three of its four sides giving it a stucco appearance. These three EIFS facades front on three major
streets in downtown Niagara Falls; 3rd Street to the east; Rainbow Boulevard to the west; and Old Falls
Street to the north. The fourth facade is of metal panel construction and faces surface parking facilities to
the south.
There are no unique visual resources on the project site itself. Visual resources that can be seen from the
project site are limited to two built structures. The first of these resources is the Wintergarden, a public
atrium building, located directly on axis with the Falls Street Pedestrian Mall in between North and South
Rainbow Boulevard. A second resource is the United Office Building, the tallest building in Niagara Falls,
located near the intersection of Rainbow Boulevard and Rainbow Boulevard North, southwest of the project
site.

7.1.2 Street Patterns and Block Shapes

Downtown Niagara Falls’ street pattern is primarily a grid system. Historically, numbered streets ran
north/south and named streets ran east/west. In recent years, several of the numbered streets have been
given names to either honor individuals or complement adjacent land uses (e.g., Rainbow Boulevard).
Blocks were traditionally rectangular in shape and consistent in size from block to block. However, in and
around the project site, new development associated with urban renewal activities have resulted in the
termination or interruption of the former street grid, creating a pattern of larger superblocks.

7.1.3 Streetscape/Open Space

The streetscape in and around the project site is urban in character. Sidewalks, ranging in four to six-foot
widths, exist along both sides of streets. Landscaping, including mature street trees, low shrubs, and
flowering annuals, can be found along 3rd Street. To the east of the project site is E. Dent Lackey Plaza, a
public recreational and cultural open space serving as the “front yard” to the existing Niagara Falls
Convention Center. At one time, outdoor concerts, ice-skating, and festivals highlighted the plaza, but in
recent years these activities have diminished and the plaza now exhibits a deteriorated appearance. The
Old Falls Street Mall, located directly to the north of the project site, is composed of decorative brick and
concrete pavers. Mature street trees, low shrubs, planting beds, decorative light standards, benches, and



                                                        35                         Final – 13 September 2002
Niagara Falls Convention and Conference Center Civic Project


trash receptacles exist throughout the entire length of the Mall. Additional pedestrian amenities exist at the
entry to the Wintergarden directly across North Rainbow Boulevard from the Mall.

7.1.4 Building Uses, Shapes, and Forms

Buildings adjacent or in close proximity to the project site are varied in nature. On the north side of the Old
Falls Street Mall (directly across from the project site) is the Falls Street Station, a 1980’s, multi-storied,
brick, commercial building that houses office space and ground-floor retail space, of which much is vacant.
Two larger buildings in the area are of particular architectural merit, the Wintergarden, and the United Office
Building. The Wintergarden, a Cesar Pelli-designed public atrium building, is located west of the project
site. It is composed of steel and glass construction, open year-round, and a functioning botanical facility.
The aforementioned United Office Building exhibits a 20-storytower designed in the art deco style of the
1920s.

7.2   Anticipated Impacts of the Proposed Action

Components of visual resources and impacts of the proposed action are summarized in Table 7-1, the
Visual Assessment Matrix set forth under SEQRA regulations. Comparison of existing views around the
project site compared to anticipated conditions under the proposed action are depicted in Figures 7-1 to
7-6.
The proposed action would result in significant positive urban design and visual impacts on the project site
and its surrounding area. Renovation and tenanting of the Falls Street Faire facility, which spans an entire
city block, would result in elimination of the facility’s deteriorating characteristics, which currently detracts
from the area’s overall visual quality. Renovations would involve the addition of new finishes to the
structure to give it a more permanent appearance, eliminating the current visual characteristics of a
manufactured building. In addition, elements would be incorporated into the design to enhance the human
scale of the facility, such as use of distinguishing materials and building components (e.g., awnings,
multiple window openings) along the Old Falls Street Mall frontage, as well as locating pedestrian-friendly
retail uses (e.g., restaurants, shops) in this portion of the facility.
Such improvements would positively enhance the urban character of the street face and the downtown
environment in general. By shifting event-based visitors into this portion of the Old Falls Street Mall, the
probability of more “peopled” streets and vibrant downtown pedestrian zones would be greatly increased,
given the closer proximity of other attractions compared to the existing NFCCC site. Further, better visual
links (e.g., relationship and massing of adjacent downtown buildings; creation of a more attractive “street
wall”, etc.) would be established to existing resources including the Wintergarden, United Office Building, as
well as existing buildings along 3rd Street.




Final – 13 September 2002                         36
                                                                              SEQRA Environmental Assessment Form




                                                    Table 7-1
                                          SEQRA Visual Assessment Matrix

VISIBILITY                                                                Distance Between Project and Resource (in Miles)
1. Would the project be visible from:                                  0- ¼       ¼-½        ½-3          3-5           5+

  •      A parcel of land which is dedicated to and
         available to the public for the use, enjoyment and
         appreciation of natural or man-made scenic quali-
         ties?

  •      An overlook or parcel of land dedicated to public
         observation, enjoyment and appreciation of natural
         or man-made scenic qualities?

  •      A site or structure listed on the National or
         State Registers of Historic Places?

  •      State Parks?

  •      The State Forest Preserve?

  •      National Wildlife Refuges and state game
         refuges?

  •      National Natural Landmarks and other
         outstanding natural features?

  •      National Park Service lands?

  •      Rivers Designated as National or State Wild,
         Scenic or Recreational?

  •      Any transportation corridor of high exposure,
         such as part of the Interstate System, or Amtrak?

  •      A governmentally established or designated                    X
         interstate or inter-county foot trail, or one formally
         proposed for establishment or designation?

  •      A site, area, lake, reservoir or highway                      X
         designated as scenic?

  •      Municipal park, or designated open space?                     X

  •      County road?                                                  X

  •      State road?

  •      Local road?                                                   X

2. Is the visibility of the project seasonal? (i.e., screened by summer foliage, but visible during other seasons)
                      Yes        X No

3. Are any of the resources checked in question 1 used by the public during the time of year during which the project will be
   visible?
              X Yes              No




                                                                  37                              Final – 13 September 2002
Niagara Falls Convention and Conference Center Civic Project




                                                     Table 7-1 cont.
                                              SEQRA Visual Assessment Matrix

    DESCRIPTION OF EXISTING VISUAL ENVIRONMENT
    4. From each item checked in question 1, check those which generally describe the surrounding environment.
                                                                                           Within
                                                                          0 miles                         1 mile

        Essentially undeveloped

        Forested

        Agricultural

        Suburban residential

        Industrial

        Commercial

        Urban                                                                   X

        River, Lake, Pond

        Cliffs, Overlooks

        Designated Open Space                                                   X

        Flat

        Hilly

        Mountainous


    5. Are there visually similar projects within:
                       0 miles     X    Yes            No
                       1 mile           Yes            No
                       2 miles          Yes            No
                       3 miles          Yes            No

    EXPOSURE
    6. The annual number of viewers likely to observe the proposed project is           5-8 million      .

    CONTEXT
    7. The situation or activity in which the viewers are engaged while viewing the proposed action is
                                                                              FREQUENCY
         Activity                                    Daily              Weekly        Holidays/              Seasonally
                                                                                      Weekends
        Travel to and from work                        X

        Involved in recreational activities            X

        Routine travel by residents                    X

        At a residence

        At a worksite                                  X

        Other




Final – 13 September 2002                                  38
                                                            SEQRA Environmental Assessment Form




                        Figure 7-1: Existing View from Wintergarden Looking East




Source: Cannon Design 2002

                       Figure 7-2: Proposed View from Wintergarden Looking East




                                                   39                      Final – 13 September 2002
Niagara Falls Convention and Conference Center Civic Project




                 Figure 7-3: Existing View Looking South on Rainbow Boulevard North




Source: Cannon Design 2002


                 Figure 7-4: Proposed View Looking South on Rainbow Boulevard North




Final – 13 September 2002                   40
                                                            SEQRA Environmental Assessment Form




             Figure 7-5: Existing View Looking West Along Old Falls Street Pedestrian Mall




Source: Cannon Design 2002

            Figure 7-6: Proposed View Looking West Along Old Falls Street Pedestrian Mall




                                                   41                      Final – 13 September 2002
Niagara Falls Convention and Conference Center Civic Project




8 HAZARDOUS MATERIALS
A preliminary assessment was conducted to identify potential sources of hazardous materials that could be
encountered as part of the project, either associated directly with the original development of the Falls
Street Faire facility or from past releases of hazardous materials on or in the vicinity of the project site. This
assessment primarily involved review of secondary data sources (i.e., past reports, historic mapping, file
searches, interviews, etc.) and site walkovers to determine any potential sources of site contamination.
Specifically, this included:
•     Review of structural design drawings for the Falls Street Faire facility;
•     Review of field notes and photo logs compiled from an interior tour of the facility by ESDC and USA
      Niagara officials in Spring of 2002;
•     An exterior site reconnaissance of the property and surrounding areas conducted in July 2002;
•     Review of permitting and development files at the City of Niagara Falls Building Department;
•     Discussions with regulatory agency personnel and persons with the agencies involved in the original
      development of the Falls Street Faire facility;
•     Review of Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps of the project area in 1953 and 1979 (i.e., prior to the
      development of the Falls Street Faire);
•     Review of an environmental database search for the project site and properties within ½ mile of the
      project site conducted by Environmental Database Resources (EDR), Inc.; and
•     Review of title records of the subject property.
The intent of this assessment was to identify recognized environmental conditions or indicators of potential
past environmental releases or liabilities, based solely upon: visual site inspection of readily accessible
areas of the subject property; discussions with knowledgeable persons concerning the site; and information
contained within accessible public databases and files. On-site sampling and/or testing of soils,
groundwater, air, building materials/structural conditions or any other environmental media were not
included as part of this assessment.

8.1     Existing Conditions

8.1.1 Site and Vicinity Description

The Falls Street Faire site is located at 101, 201, and 123 Old Falls Street, between Rainbow Boulevard
North (1st Street) and 3rd Street in Niagara Falls, Niagara County, New York. Tax parcels comprising the
site include SBL Nos.159.09-1-7.21, 159.09-1-7.22, and 159.09-1-7.01. The latitude/longitude of the site
used for environmental record search purposes is N43° 05’ 07.4”/W79° 03’ 37.3”.
As discussed in Section 2.1, the project site exhibits approximately 80 percent building coverage by the
Falls Street Faire facility. City of Niagara Falls records indicate that the facility was completed in 1990. The
Niagara County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) issued a temporary certificate of occupancy (CO) for
the building on July 11, 1991, pending the demonstration of full compliance with a series of New York State
Building Code provisions that had to be finalized (it should be noted that because the facility was financed
through IDA bonds, both the County and the City of Niagara Falls engaged in building code compliance
review). The structure is now currently vacant. The balance of the land comprising the site is currently a
vacant, unpaved area along the structure’s southern face, fronting upon Rainbow Boulevard North.
The topography of the project site and surrounding areas is flat. The groundwater depth at the site is
between 10 and 15 feet. The EDR report did not identify any water wells within a ½ mile radius of the
project site.




Final – 13 September 2002                          42
                                                                 SEQRA Environmental Assessment Form


The area immediately surrounding the project site is urban in character, containing a mix of commercial,
retail, and recreational facilities. Surfaces in the vicinity of the site are largely paved or covered by
structures. The urban nature of the areas is also exhibited in the presence of public utility infrastructure,
such as subsurface water lines; sanitary sewerage lines; drainage facilities; and electrical and natural gas
facilities. Properties directly adjoining the property include:
•   Old Falls Street Mall (Pedestrian Plaza) to the north;
•   3rd Street and two office buildings (occupied by Fleet Bank and HSBC respectively) to the east;
•   Paved public and private surface parking lots to the south; and
•   Rainbow Boulevard North (1st Street) to the west.

8.1.2 Interviews

A series of telephone interviews were conducted to determine background information of past uses and
possible contamination issues on the project site. These included discussions with:
•   Louis Fontana, project manager for the City of Niagara Falls Department of Inspections;
•   John Simon, Executive Director of the Niagara County IDA; and
•   Richard Zucco, Esq., Counsel for the City of Niagara Falls Community Development Department and
    formerly Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City during the period of urban renewal clearance
    activities and the original development of the Falls Street Faire.
Mr. Fontana was not in his current position at the time of the Falls Street Faire development in the late
1980s, however he maintains the City’s inspection files for the project, which he provided for review to
support the assessment. He indicated that the City’s files note no unusual issues regarding site
contamination during the development of the Falls Street Faire. He stated that the project documents
primarily dealt with issues involving the developer’s compliance with State Building Code requirements and
jurisdictional issues between the Niagara County IDA and the City regarding compliance review.
Mr. Simon was also not in his current position at the time of the original development of the Falls Street
Faire. He also stated that as a result of the agency’s move to new office space, the archived files on the
project were not readily available for review. He did indicate to his knowledge there were no extraordinary
environmental constraints exhibited during the development of the Falls Street Faire.
As stated above, Mr. Zucco was involved in the City administration during clearance activities on and
around the project site, as well as during the development of the Falls Street Faire. He indicated that the
primary materials encountered during site clearance and excavation were mostly construction and
demolition debris (building materials, foundation walls, etc.) that often slowed construction, but did not
represent an environmental issue. He did note that the developer of the Falls Street Faire expressed
concerns about a past automobile garage use that was on a small portion of the project site (formerly
fronting on 2nd Street). However Mr. Zucco stated that during construction, there were no instances of
encountering hazardous materials or USTs associated with this past use.

8.1.3 Site Reconnaissance

A site reconnaissance was performed at the Falls Street Faire site on July 31, 2002 to evaluate the subject
property and adjacent properties and to identify properties in the area that may affect the site’s reuse. Field
notes and photographs from the site reconnaissance are provided as Appendix C.

8.1.3.1   Hazardous Materials

No indicators of past releases of hazardous substances or petroleum product containers were identified on
the Falls Street Faire property or adjacent properties during the site reconnaissance. There was no visual
indication of past uses of hazardous substances such as empty containers, distressed vegetation, sheens
on surface water puddles, or odors.



                                                        43                        Final – 13 September 2002
Niagara Falls Convention and Conference Center Civic Project


8.1.3.2   Storage Tanks

No aboveground storage tanks (ASTs) were observed during the site reconnaissance. In addition, no
evidence of storage drums or similar containers was observed during the site reconnaissance.
A fill port for a UST was observed in the vacant, unpaved portion of the property, directly adjacent the south
face of Falls Street Faire structure (see Figure 8-1 and 8-2). The identification cap was somewhat
deteriorated and was inscribed with a label identifying it as what appears to be “Matigual Fuel Gas.” The
proximity of the fuel port to the building’s foundation suggests that it may have been part of the building’s
utility systems, potentially serving a back-up electrical generator system. Utility plans associated with
construction of the Falls Street Faire facility were not on file with the City of Niagara Falls or Niagara
County; therefore this issue could not be confirmed.
Personnel from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) Bulk Storage
Unit were contacted to determine if the project site was on the agency’s statewide UST Registry, instituted
in 1985 for documentation of all new UST facilities. The site has no registered tanks with the NYSDEC
(Skalski 2002). In addition, the project site does not have any listing on NYSDEC Spills Database,
indicating that there are no prior reports of any leaking USTs from former uses on the subject property
(Skalski 2002).

8.1.3.3   Indications of Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)

The site was inspected for types of equipment that have historically been associated with the use of PCBs
as dielectric fluid coolants and stabilizers, such as transformers, elevators, hydraulic lifts, and fluorescent
lighting. The use of PCBs was banned in 1979. Two transformers were observed on the south side of the
building, that appear to have been installed in conjunction with the original development of the Falls Street
Faire facility in the late 1980s. There was no labeling indicating PCB content and there was no visible
staining on the transformers or on the ground, indicating potential leaking of substances containing PCBs.

8.1.3.4   Asbestos Containing Materials (ACMs)

ACMs have been historically employed in a large number of applications, mostly in the area of fire
prevention and heat resistance. For example, they have been used to make floor tiles, and insulation for
boilers and pipes, as well as in ceilings, walls, and beams. In 1971, the EPA listed asbestos as a
hazardous air pollutant. Since then, many regulations and programs have been implemented to protect the
public from the potential dangers of ACMs. In 1989, EPA issued a final rule banning the production of most
products and building materials with ACMs. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans overturned
this regulation in 1991. As a result of the Court's decision, the following specific products remain banned:
flooring felt, rollboard, and corrugated, commercial, or specialty paper. In addition, the regulation continues
to ban the use of asbestos in products that have not historically contained asbestos, otherwise referred to
as "new uses" of asbestos.
Access to the interior of the Falls Street Faire facility was not permitted during the site reconnaissance
effort; therefore a full assessment of potential ACMs could not be conducted. Review of interior building
photo logs compiled by ESDC and USA Niagara did not indicate the use of ACM in traditional construction
applications (i.e., wall/pipe insulation, flooring, etc.). Further considering that the structure was constructed
between 1988 and 1990, well after asbestos was listed as a hazardous air pollutant and concurrent with the
period of EPA initial efforts to regulate even the manufacture of products containing the material, it is
unlikely that ACMs were used in the original construction of the facility.




Final – 13 September 2002                         44
                                                     SEQRA Environmental Assessment Form




Figure 8-1: Existing Stand Pipe and Fuel Port on South Side of Falls Street Faire Facility




                 Figure 8-2: Fuel Port Cap Noting “Matigual Fuel Gas”



                                            45                       Final – 13 September 2002
Niagara Falls Convention and Conference Center Civic Project



8.1.3.5   Indications of Waste Disposal/Other

No evidence of any major soil staining or odors was noted on the site grounds at the time of the
reconnaissance. There was no evidence of herbicide, pesticide, or fertilizer use on the south and east
sides of the property, however, shrubs along the north and west sides of the building may facilitate minor
use in landscaping applications.

8.1.4 Historical Use Information

The following sources were utilized to determine the historical use of the Falls Street Faire site, adjacent
properties, and surrounding area:
•   The 1953 Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, depicting the site area prior to urban renewal and clearance
    activities in downtown Niagara Falls;
•   The 1979 Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, depicting the site area following urban renewal activities, but
    prior to the development of the Falls Street Faire facility; and
•   Title records for the subject property.
Reflecting the project site’s location in the City’s central business district, review of these historic maps and
title documentation indicated that no past heavy industrial uses involving chemical storage, landfill facilities,
or other hazardous material facilities/generators occurred on the site or on nearby adjacent properties.
While past uses surrounding the project site varied significantly in form and distribution between 1953 and
1979, they generally involved hotel, retail, office, and entertainment/theater facilities.
The 1953 Sanborn map indicated that the project site contained a series of retail and commercial uses,
such as:
•   The Hotel Falls, a high-rise lodging facility with ground floor retail (shops, restaurants, etc.) fronting on
    1st Street and Falls Street;
•   The Bier Bros. Department Store, which occupied a large site at the corner of 2nd Street and Falls
    Street (It should be noted that prior to urban renewal activities, 2nd passed through the center of the
    project site, intersecting with Falls Street);
•   A small automobile repair garage fronting on 2nd Street, south of Bier Bros.;
•   A municipal parking lot fronting on 2nd Street; and
•   A fire department station and two rooming houses, fronting on 3rd Street.
The 1979 Sanborn map depicted the entire project site cleared of the aforementioned uses. The Old Falls
Street Pedestrian Mall had been established north of the project site by this time period. However, 2nd
Street had not been truncated by this time; it passed through the project site and terminated at the Mall.
Of past uses on the site, only the former fire station and garage exhibit some potential to have remnants of
past contamination. The former location of the fire station has already been excavated as part of the Falls
Street Faire development and is within the portion of the property currently covered by the structure. The
garage site is contained within the unpaved portion of the site, yet no indication of USTs, building
foundations or other remnants of this past use were observed during the site reconnaissance.

8.1.5 State Standard and Federal Environmental Record Sources

 A database search of environmental records pertaining to the project site and surrounding areas was
obtained from EDR, Inc. The EDR Report search radius of ½ mile of the subject meets or exceeds the
government records search requirements for preliminary environmental assessments. A summary of sites
identified in the EDR database search is presented in Table 8-1. For purposes of length, the full EDR
search report is not included herein, but is on file with ESDC and USA Niagara.




Final – 13 September 2002                         46
                                                   SEQRA Environmental Assessment Form




                                       Table 8-1
                        Listings of State Standard and Federal
                            Environmental Record Sources
                              Within ½ Mile of Project Site
                           Database                              Total Site(s)
National Priority List (NPL)                                          0
Proposed NPL                                                          0
Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation,
                                                                      0
and Liability Information System (CERCLIS)
CERCLIS-“No Further Remedial Action Planned’ (NFRAP)                  11
Corrective Action Reports (CORRACTS)                                  0
Resource Conservation and Recovery Information System –
                                                                      2
Large Quantity Generator (RCRIS-LQG)
Resource Conservation and Recovery Information System –
                                                                      5
Small Quantity Generator (RCRIS-SQG)
Emergency Response Notification System (ERNS)                         0
State Hazardous Waste                                                 1
State Landfill                                                        1
Leaking Storage Tanks (LTANKS)                                        9
Underground Storage Tank (UST)                                        10
Chemical Bulk Storage Underground Storage Tank (CBS
                                                                      0
UST)
Major Oil Storage Facilities Underground Storage Tank
                                                                      0
(MOSF UST)
Voluntary Cleanup Agreements (VCP)                                    0
Registered Waste Tire Storage & Facility List (SWTIRE)                0
Registered Recycling Facility List (SWRCY)                            0
Superfund (CERCLA) Consent Decrees (CONSENT)                          0
Records of Decision (ROD)                                             0




                                             47                  Final – 13 September 2002
Niagara Falls Convention and Conference Center Civic Project


                                             Table 8-1
                              Listings of State Standard and Federal
                                  Environmental Record Sources
                                Within ½ Mile of Project Site (cont.)
                                 Database                               Total Site(s)
        De-listed NPL                                                        0
        Facility Index System (FINDS)                                        8
        (Hazardous Materials Information Reporting System
                                                                             0
        (HMIRS))
        Material Licensing Tracking System (MLTS)                            0
        Mines Master Index File (MINES)                                      0
        NPL Liens                                                            0
        PCB Activity Database System (PADS)                                  0
        RCRA Administrative Action Tracking System (RAATS)                   0
        Toxic Chemical Release Inventory System (TRIS)                       0
        Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)                                  1
        Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, & Rodenticide Act/TSCA
                                                                             0
        Tracking System (FTTS)
        Hazardous Substance Waste Disposal Site Inventory
                                                                             0
        (HSWDS)
        Aboveground Storage Tank (AST)                                       4
        Chemical Bulk Storage Aboveground Storage Tank (CBS
                                                                             0
        AST)
        Major Oil Storage Facilities Aboveground Storage Tank
                                                                             0
        (MOSF AST)
        NY Spills                                                            24
        Coal Gas                                                             0
                              Total Listings                                 76
       Source: EDR 2002




Final – 13 September 2002                   48
                                                                  SEQRA Environmental Assessment Form


Within the ½-mile radius of subject property, 76 sites were identified. However, a significant percentage of
these sites were significantly north of the project site along the Main Street and 3rd Street corridors outside
of downtown or along the Buffalo Avenue industrial corridor east of downtown. One hundred and fifty-five
orphan sites (i.e., sites not mapped due to poor or inadequate address information) were also identified.
During the site reconnaissance, none of the orphan sites were identified near the subject property.
A summary of the EDR Map Findings within a 1/4-mile radius of the project site is illustrated in Figure 8-3
and summarized in Table 8-2. This search area encompassed most of the downtown area. Locations of
past releases of hazardous substances or suspected areas of hazardous materials in the vicinity of the
project site include:
•     A suspected Toxic Substance Control Act violation at the former Hooker Chemical (Occidental) Office
      Building property that resulted in no violations;
•     The Holiday Inn Select, where a spill of blacktop sealer occurred and was adequately rectified;
•     A suspected solid waste or landfill issue within the former Hydraulic Canal (i.e. that once crossed the
      downtown area as part of electrical generating facilities) that resulted in no violations; and
•     A diesel fuel spill along Rainbow Boulevard, for which site cleanup was adequately completed.

8.2     Anticipated Impacts of the Proposed Action

Based upon the data reviewed as part of this assessment, it is anticipated that the proposed action would
not result in any significant impacts regarding hazardous materials or past contamination. The action
primarily involves renovations to an existing structure limited to grading and paving of the balance of the site
to facilitate access requirements. Review of past uses of the property, published documents, interviews,
and observations made during site walkovers suggest a relatively low probability of encountering any
significant constraints associated with reuse of the site.
Two main issues would need to be addressed during the final design and implementation of the project.
These include:
•     Confirmation on the absence of any ACMs used in the interior construction of the Falls Street Faire,
      verified through completion of a visual asbestos inspection of the structure’s interior.
•     In conjunction with NYSDEC, further investigation and clearance of the UST fuel port observed on the
      south face of the existing structure. Based on these subsequent investigations, USA Niagara would
      make a determination on the purpose and origin of this facility. Should it still be required for the
      building’s utility systems (e.g., a backup electrical generator), USA Niagara would undertake testing of
      the stability of the UST, and if adequate, document it under NYSDEC’s Statewide UST Registry.
      Should it be determined that the UST is not associated with the facility’s systems or no longer required,
      USA Niagara would take actions to adequately close this UST (i.e., either in place or through off-site
      disposal in an approved facility) in accordance with NYSDEC regulations.




                                                        49                         Final – 13 September 2002
Niagara Falls Convention and Conference Center Civic Project




   Source: EDR 2002.



                                               Figure 8-3
                               Sites Noted in State Standard and Federal
                       Environmental Record Sources Within ¼ Mile of Project Site


Final – 13 September 2002                     50
                                                            SEQRA Environmental Assessment Form




                                           Table 8-2
                            Listings of State Standard and Federal
                                Environmental Record Sources
                                  Within ¼ Mile of Project Site
  Map ID
(See Figure          Site              Database                      Comment
   8-3)
              Hooker                                 There are no reported violations for this
    1                               TSCA
              Chemicals                              facility.
                                                     Blacktop sealer spill. Site cleanup
    2         Holiday Inn           NY Spills
                                                     completed.
                                                     There are no reported violations for this
    A3        Hydraulic Canal       SWF/LF
                                                     facility.
              Rainbow                                Diesel spill from vehicle. Site cleanup
    A4                              NY Spills
              Boulevard                              completed.
                                                     PAH present from ash backfill. No spill
              Carborundum
    5                               NY Spills        occurred. DEC indicates no
              Center Building
                                                     environmental threat.
              Occidental                             Sulfuric acid spill. Site cleanup
    B6                              LTANKS
              Chemical                               completed.
              Niagara Falls Int’l   UST
    7         Transportation        AST              Tank test failure. No spill happened.
              Center                LTANKS
                                                     Freon leak into air. No environmental
    B8        Olin Corporation      NY Spills
                                                     threat.
              Occidental                             There are no reported violations for this
    C9                              UST
              Chemical                               facility.
              Occidental            RCRIS-SQG        There are no reported violations for this
   C10
              Chemical              FINDS            facility.
                                                     Site soils and groundwater are
    11        Buffalo Avenue        SHWS             contaminated with organic and inorganic
                                                     compounds.
                                    FINDS
              Niagara Falls                          There are no reported violations for this
   D12                              RCRIS-LQG
              Gazette                                facility.
                                    UST
   D13        NYSDOT Project        NY Spills        Petroleum spill. Site cleanup completed.
              City of Niagara                        Diesel spill from vehicle. Site cleanup
   E14                              NY Spills
              Falls                                  completed.
              Bedrock                                Cooking grease dumped into sewer. No
    15                              NY Spills
              Restaurant                             environmental threat.
Source: EDR 2002




                                                   51                        Final – 13 September 2002
Niagara Falls Convention and Conference Center Civic Project



9 CONSTRUCTION IMPACTS
The proposed action would result in relatively minor, short-term construction impacts. These would include
the generation of localized noise and air quality impacts during the construction; periodic traffic disruption
associated with construction activities; and potential impacts to off-street parking demand associated with
on-site construction workers. However, the unique conditions associated the proposed action and the
project area would further lessen the potential of any of these impacts being severe. These considerations
include:
•   That the construction period would likely last only six months and largely involve building renovation
    activities rather than major excavation and heavy construction;
•   That the construction would typically occur during weekday periods when traffic levels and activity in
    downtown Niagara Falls are low compared to weekends during the summer tourist season;
•   That the downtown area currently lacks any significant sensitive noise or air quality receptors (i.e., land
    uses such as schools or residences that would be significantly affected by construction activities); and
•   That there is a significant surplus of downtown parking that could accommodate site construction
    workers, as discussed in Section 3.2.
Any anticipated construction effects would be lessened, if necessary, through the implementation of
standard construction safety procedures and best practices, such as limiting construction activities to
weekday daylight hours, periodic wetting of construction areas to lessen dust emissions, and implementing
traffic control and routing procedures to facilitate site development.


10 REFERENCES
City of Niagara Falls, 2000, City of Niagara Falls Zoning Ordinance, Niagara Falls, NY.
DeSantis, Thomas, 2002, Senior Planner, City of Niagara Falls, personal communication with Ernie
Boughman and Joseph Chiarmonte, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Buffalo, NY.
Environmental Database Resources (EDR), Inc., EDR Radius Map with GeoCheck, prepared for Falls
Street Faire Property, Inquiry Number 0827245.1r, Southport, Connecticut.
Fontana, Louis, 2002, Project Manager, City of Niagara Falls Department of Inspections, personal
communication with Paul Tronolone and David Robinson, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Buffalo, NY.
Hunter Interests Inc. 2002a, USA Niagara Development Strategy, Draft, Prepared for USA Niagara
Development Corporation, Annapolis, MD.
Hunter Interests Inc. 2002b, Convention Center Alternative Analysis, Draft, Prepared for USA Niagara
Development Corporation, Annapolis, MD.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Air Quality Monitoring Data, Region 8, Buffalo,
NY.
New York State Department of Transportation, 2001, Segment Traffic Counts for Downtown Niagara Falls,
Region 5, Buffalo, NY.
New York State Department of Transportation, 2002, Environmental Procedures Manual, as amended,
Albany, NY.
New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation 2002, Information derived from the
Niagara Falls State Park website at http://www.niagarafallsstatepark.com.
Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, City of Niagara Falls, 1953 and 1979.
Simon, John, 2002, Executive Director, Niagara County Industrial Development Agency, personal
communication with Paul Tronolone, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Buffalo, NY.



Final – 13 September 2002                        52
                                                                SEQRA Environmental Assessment Form


Skalski, Andrea, 2002, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Region 8, Hazardous
Materials Division, Bulk Storage, personal communication with Paul Tronolone, Parsons Brinckerhoff,
Buffalo, NY.
Urban Design Project, School of Architecture and Planning, University at Buffalo et. al., 2002, Achieving
Niagara Falls’ Future, An Assessment of Niagara Falls Waterfront Planning, Prepared for the City of
Niagara Falls, Buffalo, New York.
US Environmental Protection Agency, 1974, Information on Levels of Environmental Noise Requisite to
Protect Public Health and Welfare with an Adequate Margin of Safety, EPA/ONAC 550/9-74-004.
Zucco, Richard, Esq., 2002, Counsel, City of Niagara Falls Community Development Department, personal
communication with Paul Tronolone, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Buffalo, NY.




                                                      53                        Final – 13 September 2002

				
DOCUMENT INFO
Shared By:
Categories:
Tags:
Stats:
views:0
posted:9/23/2011
language:English
pages:58