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Hearings on a pair of projects held at Hamburg Planning Board meeting

The Town of Hamburg Planning Board held two public hearings at a recent meeting to discuss site plan approval and environmental impact statements for two potential developments within the town.

One hearing was held for a medical office complex proposed by Sharma Development near the intersection of Pleasant Avenue and Southwestern Boulevard. The complex would contain four multi-tenant buildings, according to a presenter for the development firm, envisioned as a small campus for urgent care, ambulatory surgery and other non-hospital medical services. This latest site plan revision accommodates state and federal regulations for building near wetlands.

The intersection between Pleasant and Southwestern was a major concern during the public hearing. “That corner is atrocious, and it’s 10 times worse in the winter,” said William Woch, a resident who lives on Pleasant. “I can’t imagine this project getting approval without a stoplight.” Sharma Development and the Hamburg Planning Board all agreed that they want a signal light installed at the intersection, but the state had not yet granted approval. “The state’s argument is that there needs to be more development to signalize the intersection,” said Drew Reilly, a planning board member. The board will vote on site plan approval for this site at their first meeting in June.

Another hearing on a proposed subdivision within the town focused heavily on potential environmental hazards. The proposed Willow Woods Subdivision on Taylor Road, east of Vail Drive, would include 49 half-acre lots on a 142-acre parcel of land.

The board, especially Chairman Peter Reszka, was mainly concerned with results from soil tests conducted from a landfill area on the site. The landfill, which closed decades ago, takes up about six acres on the back of the property, removed from the planned housing construction within the subdivision. Reszka cited one soil test that tested positive for higher-than-average levels of cyanide (75 parts per million).

A representative from the soil testing agency was present and answered some of the board’s questions. He believed that there were no toxic concerns at all at this landfill, and that the sample was an outlier, or an anomalous finding that is statistically separate from the other test findings. Other soil tests found low, non-toxic levels of cyanide of about 16 ppm or less. The representative also remarked that the low permeability soil surrounding the landfill, and the lack of running water or another mechanism to move the chemical, it was unlikely that large amounts of soil toxins would affect subdivision residents if they existed in large quantities.

The Town of Hamburg Planning Board will vote on approval of the subdivision’s environmental impact statement at their next meeting on May 15.

In other business, the board:

• Set a public hearing for site plan approval of a combination ice cream store and pool supply business to be located on the east side of McKinley Parkway, south of Dorcester Parkway. This project had been proposed before and approved in 2009, but the developer got slowed down by zoning concerns and the site plan and other approvals expired in 2010. The public hearing has been set for the board’s next regular meeting on May 15.
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