By Timothy Chipp
A planned expansion of a Town of Niagara-located solid waste transfer facility continues to be delayed, with the latest pushback made Wednesday.
During a work session of the Town of Niagara board, Covanta Environmental Solutions requested a required public hearing for a solid waste facility siting permit be tabled until new and old concerns of the board could be addressed.
Appearing on agendas in October and November with no progress, the item now moves into the new year with little to no progress in the town. The earliest now the town could call the hearing is in February.
Progress was made recently at the state level, though, with the state Department of Environmental Conservation issuing a negative declaration in its environmental quality review for the expansion.
The state DEC has served as the lead agency in the proposed expansion, which seeks to upgrade the 4,000-square-foot Quarry Road facility to a 5,000-square-foot one and bring about 150 tons per day extra through the facility.
As a transfer facility, the waste wouldn’t be kept on-site. The expansion would increase truck traffic in the area, though.
Along with requiring a site plan approval and a special use permit for which the public hearing still needs to be scheduled, the town is considering rezoning the area from light industrial to heavy industrial. Such a move ruffled the feathers of some on the board last month, including Councilman Richard Sirianni.
Sirianni expressed continued concern for the project Wednesday, saying he feels the project needs a number of things he’s yet to see, including plans for the expansion. He said he needs to see those before he’d be comfortable approving any part of the project.
While the state provided a green light from an environmental review angle, a new wrinkle popped up recently in Niagara Falls that has pushed back the process, according to town attorney Michael Risman.
Risman, on Wednesday, said the city raised an issue with the expansion that would need to be resolved on their end before the town and Covanta can go forward.
“We’re still a month or maybe five weeks away,” Risman said.
Town Supervisor Lee Wallace agreed with the sentiment to wait another month, adding that the town would be best served by waiting for everything to play out before making any decisions.
Meanwhile, the town’s December meeting will be one week earlier than normal due to the upcoming Christmas holiday. It’s scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Town Hall, 7105 Lockport Road.
A public hearing is scheduled concerning a local law designed to significantly limit short-term rental properties commonly found on websites like AirBnB.com.