GOWANDA – A request for a site plan review to build a clinic associated with the New York State Department of Mental Health was denied Monday at a special meeting of the Village Board held in Gowanda Village Hall.
The action was based on an order from New York State Supreme Court, which is scheduled to hear a proceeding in the case on Friday.
The proceeding was brought about by community residents who want the entire process of the request reviewed. The Village Board was ordered to deny or approve a site plan for the space by Monday.
The request for action on the site plan came from Savarino Cos., a Buffalo developer. Timothy Greenan, executive vice president of Savarino, said the development was to be offices for the Zoar Valley Clinic, a satellite of the New York State Office of Mental Health. He said staff of the Buffalo Psychiatric Center would also use office space at the site. The clinic currently operates on Taylor Hollow Road near the Gowanda and Collins Correctional Facilities. Greenan said the proposed space would have offices for state workers and some clinic and meeting space for mental health services including counseling.
The area to be considered for the new space was formerly leased by Burger King and has been closed for the past few years.
Village Mayor Heather McKeever read a lengthy resolution that was unanimously supported by the board.
“There is significant strong public opposition to the project’s proposed location and significant concern regarding the adequacy of the review of the project,” the resolution states.
On Aug. 20, the Village Board held a public hearing on the proposed project and had “overwhelming negative response,” according to the resolution. The mayor said that more than 100 people attended the hearing.
The proposed clinic would also need more parking than is available on the same lot. The new building proposed for the site would be 9,000 square feet, according to the application.
Additional parking would need to be leased or purchased from neighboring lots. The information supplied Monday reportedly contained a lease agreement with a neighboring property owner for parking spaces.
Village Board members had concerns about the parking issue. Their resolution also stated that having parking on a different parcel could present problems in the future if the use of the building changed.
Board members did not allow comments from the floor on Monday, although the seats in the Village Board room were filled with area residents. McKeever said that board members needed to be cautious because of the pending legal proceedings.
She said she hoped the Village Board could work with the developer in the future. The resolution also indicated that the board would like to suggest alternate sites to the developer so that new offices could be built in the area.
McKeever and board members also agreed that they should wait for the decision from the court procedure before making any further determinations about the project.