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Howard Road rezoning request denied by Hamburg Town Board

The rezoning request for an 8.1 acre parcel of land on Howard Road was unanimously denied Monday (April 22) by the Hamburg Town Board.

The request was to rezone the property, located west of Heatherwood Drive, from R-2, single family residence to R-3, multi-family residence, which would allow apartments, condominiums, hospitals, nursing homes, dwelling groups, colleges and dorms.

The applicant, Boston State Holding Company, had asked for the rezoning to allow them to build 11 two-story buildings which would each house six apartment units. According to the builder, these would be high-end/up-scale rental units which also included garages.

Previous to the Nov. 26 public hearing, the town received a petition with 137 signatures as well as 12 pieces of correspondence from residents opposed to the rezoning.

The board denied the request based on the following reasons:

• The site is located in the “Central Hamburg Area” of the Town Comprehensive Plan. The board said they determined the change in zoning to a higher density development and the type of buildings that were projected to be constructed would not fit into this area and neighborhood.

• The Comprehensive Plan also called for studying the needs for additional multi-family housing in the town and no formal study has been completed. In addition, numerous multi-family developments are currently being built in the town and the additional rezoning of lands may not be necessary.

•The property’s current zoning of R-2 would allow for one and two family homes without the need for rezoning.

The board also passed in a 2-to-1 vote, with Councilman Joseph Collins casting the negative vote, to pass a negative State Environmental Quality Review declaration.

This statement notes that the proposed rezoning was not anticipated to result in any significant adverse environmental impacts.

A SEQR determination is needed for all rezoning actions, Hamburg Planner Andrew Reilly said.

In other business, the board approved, in a 2-to-1 vote, with Collins casting the negative vote, the acceleration of 2014 payments (longevity, holiday, vacation, compensatory time and premium pay of $500) to Assistant Police Chief John Conlon based on an agreement with the town to an earlier retirement date of May 19 instead of waiting until either later this year or sometime in 2014.

According to Supervisor Steven Walters, this is an estimated savings of over $30,000 in addition to the savings of other expenses such as retirement contributions, vision and dental insurance, as well as the use of a police vehicle.

Collins said he was concerned that this was a last minute resolution and there was no discussion on this previous to it being voted on.

Collins also questioned if the pay would be based on the higher rate which had just been approved in a Feb. 25 contract.

In other action, the board:

• Held a public hearing on the rezoning of Lockwood’s Greenhouses from R-3 (multi-family) and M-1 (industrial park-research and development to C-1 (local retail business).

According to Reilly, this rezoning will bring the property into conformity, since greenhouses and nurseries are not allowed in the current zoning but is in C-1.

A resident asked if a condition could be placed on the rezoning, that there be buffers put in place for any further development.

Reilly said that could be considered and reasonable conditions, such as adding a buffer and restricting what uses are allowed can be placed on the rezoning.

No action was taken.

• Approved the rezoning of 6638 Gowanda State Road from NC (neighborhood commercial) to R-A (residential-agricultural) and C-1 (local retail business) with the restriction of only one curb cut, to be determine by the New York State Department of Transportation and the town.

• Heard from Hamburg resident Karen Rogers questioning the appropriateness of Councilwoman Amy Ziegler naming a Town of Hamburg Recreation Department and Woodlawn Beach State Park program “Amy Z’s Kidz Club,” especially during an election year.

According to Walters, Ziegler used her own money to purchase the rubber/plastic wristbands with the club name on them, that were handed out at this year’s Easter Egg Hunt event.

“This was for the children and I have no alternative agenda with this,” Ziegler said.

The club has been set up to offer special events and activities for children.

• Awarded John W. Danforth Company the contract to replace the heating, ventilation and air conditioning at the Hamburg Public Library in the village, for the lowest bid of $207,000.

This is the first phase of the library’s addition and renovation project.

• Held a public hearing on the proposed rezoning of property at 4856 Lake Ave., from M-1 (industrial park-research and development) to C-2 (general commercial).

“This is a down-zoning and the petitioner is looking to put a golf cart supply store there,” Reilly said.

There were no comments and no action was taken.

The town board will next meet at a work session at 6 p.m. on Monday, May 13 followed by a regular meeting at 7 p.m.

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