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Town of Niagara awaiting Amazon's next move

Fri, Oct 21st 2022 11:05 am

By Timothy Chipp

Town of Niagara officials are waiting like the rest of the town citizens for Amazon’s facility to come to town.

Supervisor Lee Wallace said the town has not heard anything about when work on the proposed 650,000-square-foot fulfillment center, which would be built by JB2 Partners for Amazon’s use, would begin.

Wallace said that, until permit applications are filed with the town, he’s in the dark about when everything begins. It can’t happen without town approval of the permits, even though the facility received site plan approval in July.

“Until they pay the money and put shovels in the ground, we don’t know anything,” Wallace said following Tuesday’s regular board meeting.

Amazon, through its developer JB2 Partners, was granted approval to build the facility at 8995 Lockport Road, which is currently a farm field.

Residents of the surrounding areas along Lockport and Packard Roads, which intersect at the location the developer proposed to have the facility’s truck entrance and exit, opposed the facility, while Town Board members cited potential financial windfall before approving the project.

In September, Wallace told the Tribune/Sentinel that conversations with the developer indicated the project would move forward despite recent reports of Amazon scaling back its facility expansion as the economy turned downward amid current inflation and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Also that month, Bloomberg reported Amazon was abandoning plans for and closing dozens of facilities, while cordoning off sections of already-in-use warehouses that have been or will be leased to other companies.

The fate of Niagara’s proposed facility was not explicitly included in the company’s planned reduction, but some fear the company’s decision could affect the facility that was expected to be a boon for the community, at least financially.

“We’ve done everything we were supposed to do,” Wallace said at the time.

While Amazon’s fate has not been addressed, the Town Board did approve a number of agenda items Tuesday. They include:

√ Issuing a negative declaration and approving the combining of lots at 7431 Porter Road, the site of Wayside Nursery;

√ Appointing a part-time court clerk to fill a vacancy; and

√ Approving fund transfers to cover expenses in both the general and highway funds encountered at the end of the budget year.

One agenda item that was tabled was the scheduling of a public hearing for the application for a special use permit and rezoning of a parcel at 8335 Quarry Road.

Wallace said the request by Covanta Environmental Solutions requires the town to do homework to ensure “it’s above board and the process is transparent.”

Building Inspector Charles Haseley noted the project requires a site plan, a special use permit, rezoning and a solid waste permit. The solid waste permit is the final step in the process after the other three are accomplished.

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