Hamburg Town Board members Monday night weighed in on two issues over which they have little control but their bully pulpit: New York State’s SAFE Act gun-control legislation and the proposal to build 128 apartment units off Roundtree Village.
Board members told a standing- room-only audience that spilled into hallways that they are watching developments in the proposal for the apartments and sympathize with Roundtree Village residents. But the parcel is zoned properly, and the Planning Board has the authority to approve or deny the plan.
On gun control, the Town Board called for the suspension of the state law until all aspects of gun control can be examined. The governor signed the controversial gun legislation into law in January after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Connecticut last December.
Sheriff Timothy Howard spoke out against the gun-control legislation. He said he opposes the law on the grounds it violates the Second Amendment, and he said there was no input from upstate interests or law enforcement.
He said the measure increases penalties that would not be necessary if current laws are enforced.
“There is no example in history where gun registration has not been followed shortly by confiscation,” he said, adding that the legislation outlaws weapons because of what they look like, not for what they do.
Board members unanimously approved a resolution calling on state leaders to address gun control in “a more logical manner,” to strengthen the effect on public safety and not infringe upon constitutional rights.
Many of those in attendance were in favor of the Town Board action, and many of those in the audience also oppose the apartment complex near Howard Road.
Charlie Cox, of Breckenridge Road, said neighbors know the complex conforms with R-3 zoning and that the issue is being considered by the Planning Board. But he said neighbors don’t understand how the town can consider allowing the project with only one access through a residential area.
Supervisor Steven Walters acknowledged the Town Board’s authority is limited, but he said the access to the apartments is a key issue.
“That’s an issue this Planning Board has to address very carefully,” he said.
Councilwoman Amy Ziegler said the large attendance by residents at Monday’s meeting speaks to keeping the neighborhood the way it is, and Councilman Joseph Collins said another access could be built.