ADVERTISEMENT

The Clarence Planning Board will take a closer look at a planned nursery/greenhouse operation on County Road, a project that has stirred opposition from some neighbors.

Lavocat Family Nursery plans to build an $800,000 facility on vacant land at 8441 County Road, east of Westminster Drive. Sean Hopkins, an attorney representing the project, told Town Board members Wednesday that the business “clearly is an expressed and permitted use in this zoning classification.”

Town Board members did not express disagreement over that point, but they sent the project to the Planning Board for review.

Town Councilman Bernard J. Kolber said the purpose was to “define the parameters of what [the Lavocat operation] can and can’t do” on the property.

Town Board members said they hoped to resolve differences between the property owner and the neighbors now, to prevent disputes from lingering and creating more conflict.

“I strongly believe I think it’s good for you to let everyone have their day in court and get it done with, so that you do your operation without being watched under a microscope,” Town Councilman Patrick Casilio told the Lavocats, referring to the upcoming Planning Board review.

Hopkins said the Lavocats are willing to work with neighbors to address their concerns, such as buffering. But he asserted the Lavocats’ right to build the project on the land, which is zoned agricultural rural residential, is spelled out in the town code and was not up for debate.

Neighbors who spoke out against the project Wednesday raised issues such as the potential impact on the neighborhood, the size and scope of the business, increased traffic and drainage.

Ronald Mohr said he was worried the project would be “an eyesore” that will bring down the value of homes in the area and infringe on his privacy because of its proximity to his home.

Lori Baranyi said she felt the greenhouse operation would be out of step with a neighborhood consisting of “primarily single-family homes in a country setting.”

“Ask yourself if you would like to live next to this retail garden center,” Baranyi told Town Board members.

Don Lavocat Sr. dismissed critics’ claims that the facility would resemble a Walmart or Lowe’s garden center, saying it would be an attractive, modern-looking operation. He said the project also meshes with the land’s agricultural zoning.

“Everything we sell on the property will be grown here,” he said. “It will all be retail.”

email: mglynn@buffnews.com