By Lauren Zaepfel
Residents will have a chance to voice their questions, comments and concerns on the proposed 138,600-square-foot sports dome structure set to be built on the backside of The Summit mall. The Wheatfield Planning Board has scheduled a public information session for 7 p.m. March 2, at Town Hall, 2800 Church Road.
Representatives of Niagara International Sports and Entertainment will be on hand to present information to residents and answer questions relating to their proposal.
Wheatfield Planning Board Chair Walter Garrow said residents will be given the opportunity to learn "a little bit more of what the details are" from the project presenters. "By the end of the meeting, they should have a better understanding of what's happening in their neighborhood."
Garrow also said residents will be able to "actually see what (the structure) will look like, what it will contain, and they would be able to get some first-hand information or insight as to what the benefits will be for the community."
Residents are encouraged to attend and provide their input to the Planning Board.
"It's always good to have public input and we're always interested in what the public has to say about what the developments are," Garrow said. "I can say that, in past public information sessions, neighbors have voiced various elements of concern and then, in the process of receiving those concerns in some of these recent cases, the developer will make some modifications. ... I've actually heard the public say, 'Wow, you heard us, and I know it's still going to be done, but you've addressed our concerns and we appreciate it.' "
This public information meeting regarding the Niagara International Sports and Entertainment structure comes after an initial site plan was presented to the Planning Board in December and a site plan review took place Feb. 3.
"During that site plan review, we gave them some specifications and things that they had to do," Garrow said.
The Niagara International Sports and Entertainment's team of representatives were instructed to address multiple items before the next meeting.
As stated in the Feb. 3 Planning Board minutes, "The Planning Board requested parking calculations for the site, a photometric light study and baseline noise levels at the perimeter of the property to determine further levels of noise generation. Other outstanding conditions include obtaining a USACE (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) wetlands delineation, obtaining geotechnical information for constructability and providing an engineering report calculating water and sanitary loads, and traffic."
Garrow said the height of the structure has also been reviewed.
"Because of the height and the proximity to the airport, they had to talk with FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and the airport to make sure there's no issues. And we also had them, for public safety, see the fire department and the fire advisory board (to) make sure that there's no safety issues," Garrow said.
Before the project may progress, the Planning Board will check to see if the applicants are able to meet the requirements by town law and code.
"Every stage in the process requires documentation. As you can imagine, that somewhere down that road, if something doesn't look right, we'll be able to go to the plans and be able to say, 'Oh, wait a minute. We agreed that you would have this ... and you haven't completed that.' Then we work in concert with the town inspectors as far as occupancy, permits and different things that the inspectors can do."
Garrow said the meeting will be focused on informing the public and "After the public information session, we (the Planning Board) may close the public session and then ask the presenters (more questions) or tell them more of what their to-dos are."
Garrow said he does not anticipate the Planning Board members will have votes on approval or disapproval at the March meeting.