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Town of Hamburg receives a proposal to rezone agricultural land on Pleasant Avenue

A proposal made to the Hamburg Town Board at Monday’s (Oct. 8) meeting includes a request for re-zoning an 88-acre wetland segment on the north side of Pleasant Avenue, a plan that would involve the installation of lots for patio homes, estates and multi-family apartments.

Speaking during the town board’s work session, Sean Hopkins of the law firm Hopkins & Sorgi – which is representing the involved project organization Pleasant Development LLC – described the plan to town officials. A request was made to re-zone the vacant property on the north side of Pleasant between Rogers Road and the New York State Thruway from the current Residential Agricultural designation to that of Planned Unit Development, or mixed residential use. Noted development, according to Hopkins, would include installing lots for 80 patio homes and 30 estates, to go along with 168 multi-family apartments, the latter being described as “upscale” two-story, eight-unit buildings. The estate lot sizes were dimensionally described as being 100 feet in frontage by 75 feet in depth.

It was also stated that developers are expected to reach out to nearby residents, including those living in adjacent subdivisions, to answer questions and address possible concerns. The town board voted 3-0 during the regular meeting to refer the matter to the Town of Hamburg Planning Board, which Hamburg Town Supervisor Steven J. Walters said will further examine related project issues and respond back with a positive or negative recommendation regarding the item to the town board.

Walters said he sits on the town’s Code Review Committee, which found the project’s parameters to be in accordance with the overall comprehensive plan, warranting the item being sent to the planning board. However, it was added that issues still exist regarding the ingress and egress compatibility of the area, as the intersection of Pleasant and Rogers was described as already presenting a difficult traffic scenario. Project guidelines would include another road being installed near that intersection. It was stated that lot size installations as part of the project would exceed the town’s current zoning structures, bringing about the need for the re-zoning request for mixed residential use.

Transportation and character issues must be addressed, and the project is subject to environmental review. It was stated that sewer capabilities exist in the noted area, although storm water quality and drainage route parameters must be reviewed through the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Ponds currently exist in the wetland area but are said to be in need of recaptivation. Surrounding residential neighborhoods are described as being zoned under the R-2 designation.

Several Pleasant Development LLC members, including Jeff Russo, were in attendance during the work session.

Among other items discussed during the work session, an overview was given regarding recent air quality tests at the Town Courtroom and Police Department. It was stated by representatives Joseph Coniglio and John Coniglio of the agency Occupational Safety and Environmental Associates that an overall evaluation is expected to yield mostly positive results, with a description of slight ventilation issues being present.

An initial test was followed with a recommendation that the town change HVAC filters, although indoor air quality was described as being “fine” by Project Manager Joseph Coniglio. The town was stated as having fixed a cracked ventilation pipe in the police area, and inorganic vapors and slight visible mold were additionally tested.

In the courtoom, black spots were identified on various drywall, and a wipe sample found them to be non-detectable. John Coniglio advised that water quality issues remain ultra-important, stating that the possibility always exists for mold to seep into leaks.

During the regular meeting, a question arose during the public comment session that asked if the possibility exists to reinstate a five-member town board. Town resident Stephen Strnad and Supervisor Walters briefly discussed the matter, and it was stated that town boards in West Seneca and Alden – similarly downsized in recent years from five to three, along with that of Hamburg – are expected to see community based petition drives prior to their council elections advocating a return to five-member boards. Strnad said he believes a five-member board would better suit the Town of Hamburg, adding that he would like to eventually see a resolution regarding the matter brought before the board. Walters noted that he was against the downsizing measure from the outset.

“Technical problems arise from having just three members on the board,” the supervisor said. “The problem isn’t so much the workload, because the council members do handle it. But there are problems that are technical.”

A public hearing regarding the Town of Hamburg budget will take place at 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 22 at Hamburg Town Hall, located at 6100 South Park Ave.


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