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East Side lots: For housing or farming?

They are two clashing visions for vacant lots on Buffalo's East Side.

City officials said they've worked for years to string together 27 parcels on Wilson Street in hopes of seeing new homes built in the Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood. It's all part of a long-range plan, Mayor Byron W. Brown insisted Tuesday. The city has been working with Habitat For Humanity, which has built about 100 homes in Buffalo since 2002.

Mark and Janice Stevens have a different vision. The Fillmore Avenue residents want to buy the two-acre site and set up an urban farm. They've been trying convince city officials to sell them the land since last fall.

Habitat's local president said he only learned about the proposal for a farm when he a read a Sunday story in The Buffalo News. At the urging of Common Council President David A. Franczyk, Ronald G. Talboys said his group is willing to look at other sites for new homes.

But Brown and his chief development adviser, Brian Reilly, said they're convinced new housing is the best use for one of the city's largest tracts of residential land. The mayor said more than a dozen homes could ultimately be built on the parcels. These would be homes that generate property taxes and lure more residents into Buffalo's Fillmore District, Brown argued.

Which vision for these vacant lots do you think makes the most sense?

  --  Brian Meyer

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