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TOWN OF NIAGARA – Owners of the old Gold Circle store building want to circumvent part of the zoning process to allow a new tenant to start a warehouse business.
Town Attorney Michael Risman told the Town Board at a work session Thursday that Benderson Development needs to rezone its property at 6000 Packard Road and wants to skip the need for a site plan to get the zoning changed from a business use to a light industrial one.
If approved, the 58,000-square-foot site would be renovated for the new warehouse business and could be ready for use in a couple of months, according to the discussion. Two other businesses currently lease space at the site that housed Gold Circle until 1988, but the majority of the old store is vacant, it was noted. For a brief period, the former store was used as a flea market location.
Risman explained that the zoning change would be consistent with existing uses in the area and the actual site would not be altered. As part of the regular procedure, a site plan would have to be presented to the planning board.
“But they’re not changing the site, just the use inside,” Risman said. “They don’t feel they need to go to the planning board.” He said the Benderson request to expedite the process could be considered reasonable because the business would “create jobs and increase the tax base.” The location is conducive for a warehouse business because of its proximity to a Thruway entrance, he said.
The request found some support on the board from Councilman Danny Sklarski.
“This is a great example of economic development – taking an unused building and creating jobs and building the tax base,” Sklarski said. “This is what we strive for … We should welcome them.”
Councilman Robert Clark cautioned that the board should not make a habit of skipping the planning board. “We don’t want to get into the practice … we don’t want to set a precedent.”
No decision was made on the request. The board will seek input from the chairmen of the zoning and planning boards, Councilman Charles Teixeira said.
In another matter, the board moved two budget-related public hearings to the same night. A proposal to allow the board to increase the 2013 tax rate above 2 percent is scheduled for 5:45 p.m., Oct. 30 to be followed by a hearing on the 2013 budget at 6 p.m.