A long-debated proposal for a new scrap metal recycling facility in the northwest corner of the city won a key vote this week, and ultimate approval now rests with the Common Council.
After nearly two months of review and the completion of a noise study, the city Planning Board voted to approve the $7 million proposal from Ben Weitsman and Son of Buffalo, a sister company to Upstate Shredding, based in Owego.
Hours later, North Council Member Joseph Golombek said he would like to wait to vote on the project for another two weeks, so he can meet with neighborhood groups. Golombek represents the project area, and his support is viewed as essential for the project to win approval.
The company sought approval from the Council in July, but the site plan didn’t come up at the Planning Board until Dec. 18. Since then, the Council has deferred to the board.
The company would like to receive scrap metal at the former site of Auto City, an auto salvage yard at 409 Hertel Ave. at Military Road. The metal would then be transferred onto trucks for shredding at another of the company’s facilities.
Project planners are adding a fence and a berm to mitigate noise.
Shredding of the metal won’t take place on the site, but the Planning Board was concerned about the noise created when cars and other heavy items are dropped into trucks for transport, especially in the early morning on weekends, when the area is relatively quiet.
The board restricted the business from starting noisy activities on the site until 8 a.m. on Saturdays and 9 a.m. on Sundays, and stipulated that scrap metal is not to be stored on-site long-term.
Kim Weitsman, president of Ben Weitsman and Son of Buffalo, said she understood Golombek’s need to speak with neighbors and that she is hoping for Council committee approval in two weeks.
In other City Hall news:
• The Council’s Legislation Committee sent a proposal that would allow food trucks at Canalside to the full Council without a recommendation as to whether it should be approved. Golombek, who sponsored the measure, said the Council won’t take action on it until he has discussed it with food truck owners.
• Plans for a 9,100-square-foot discount store at Main and Balcolm streets were approved by the Planning Board, though store developers will return to the board with a revised design for the store’s sign.
• Wegmans’ revised expansion of enclosed seating in the Market Cafe at 601 Amherst St. was approved by the Planning Board.
The new plan calls for the retention of outdoor seating and the addition of a canopy, which will eliminate some parking spaces. The store is planning to increase green space and improve landscaping..
Wegmans’ plans for a new 15,000-square-foot retail store, to be placed on land in front of its Amherst Street store, will be evaluated by the Planning Board on Feb. 26. The grocer has said it expects to lease the space for use as a liquor or wine store.
• Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper’s plans to restore nearly 10 acres of Buffalo River shoreline were approved by the Planning Board.
• An application by Sergio Mucino to transform the former K. Gallagher’s at 73 Allen St. into a Mexican restaurant was approved by the Legislation Committee .