“Not in my backyard!” That’s what neighbors say about the project to build an upscale apartment complex on Howard Road. Dozens of residents from the Heatherwood subdivision came out to Wednesday’s (Sept. 19) planning board meeting to voice their opposition to the project. Owners are asking the planning board to approve rezoning from R2 to R3 on vacant land on Howard.
Right before Wednesday’s meeting, Heatherwood neighbors submitted a petition signed by 137 neighbors who oppose the proposed project. Reasons include potential traffic, drainage, sanitary sewer issues and more that will result from the project becoming a reality.
Hamburg Town Planning Consultant Drew Reilly discussed the Hamburg Comprehensive Plan that was most recently updated in 2007. Reilly explained the zoning portion of the Plan to the residents in attendance – detailing what the zoning is for each area of the town. The proposed project on Howard Road would fit the comprehensive plan, which otherwise would be a major obstacle for land owners, Russo Development.
Kevin O’Byrne lives on Heatherwood Drive and after his question about the comprehensive plan, stated his reason for opposing the project. “I’m not in favor of spot zoning purely for economic development.”
Jeff Russo, one of the owners of Russo Development, was also in attendance and he tried to appease residents. “We’re going to do everything in our power to make sure we do everything above board. We’re not going to be bad neighbors. I think it (the project) makes sense.” Residents like Kris Gorman do not agree with Russo. “You’re going to sell this property to a company from out of town, that’s not what we want,” Gorman said. Cheryl McBride also spoke out, adding “we feel that we (the town of Hamburg) are saturated with apartments (in the town).”
Hamburg Planning Board Chairman Peter Reszka said that the planning board needs some more time to review all the plans and materials from the residents. The board does plan to make a recommendation on the rezoning at its Oct. 2 meeting. If the rezoning is approved by the planning board, the next step will take the project to the Hamburg Town Board where residents can voice their concerns at a public hearing.
Suburban Adult Services plans to build a 12-unit apartment building on vacant land between 3050-3060 Abbott Road.
There were no comments at a public hearing held on the issue, so the planning department is preparing a resolution for site plan approval at the next meeting on Oct. 2. Construction on the project may begin in the spring.
Plans to build an equipment storage facility on Old Milestrip Road were tabled until the next Planning Board meeting, as owners pursue an entrance and exit for trucks on Coder Road rather than Lake Avenue.
A public scoping session will be held on Oct. 17 to discuss the Willow Woods Subdivision project on Taylor Road.