Gabe’s Collision will get another chance to make its case for opening a combination collision shop, rental car and used-car sales operation on Transit Road in Clarence.
The Town Board on Wednesday scheduled a public hearing for April 10, to consider approving a special exception use permit the project would require. The proposed business would be built at 5871 Transit Road, on vacant land north of Highland Farms Drive.
The project’s prospects were uncertain after the Planning Board recommended denying the permit, saying it had determined a collision shop was not a permitted use for the property.
Jeffery Palumbo, an attorney representing the Gabe’s project, challenged that determination and asked the Town Board to grant a public hearing on its request for a permit.
If the Town Board votes on the permit April 10, at least four of the five members would need to vote in favor of it in order for it to pass. In requesting the hearing, Palumbo said, “I don’t know if I’ll get four votes. But that’s the democratic process.”
Palumbo questioned why the project would be put through an expensive review that lasted over a year, including referrals to the Planning Board, if it was not thought to be a permitted use to begin with. “There’s never been an indication from the Town Board that the use was not permitted.”
Councilman Patrick Casilio defended the process, telling Palumbo the town carefully reviewed the project. “I think it’s disingenuous of you to say you haven’t had an opportunity to present [the project] to the public, or the town didn’t do its due processes. I think it did its due process.”
The Town Board voted, 5-0, to grant the hearing, but emphasized that granting the public hearing was no guarantee a permit would be approved.
In other business:
• The Town Board set a public hearing for April 10 to consider the purchase of 77 acres of vacant land at Goodrich and Herr roads for $1 million.
• Northwoods, a 148-lot subdivision planned for north of Greiner Road and east of Shimerville Road, took a procedural step forward. The Town Board accepted a draft supplemental environmental impact statement for the project. The subdivision still needs to clear other hurdles before it can be built.