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Town of Niagara file photo
Town of Niagara file photo

Niagara board to consider zoning amendment over self-storage

Fri, Sep 15th 2023 11:00 am

By Timothy Chipp

Contributing Writer

Add another issue to the growing list the Town of Niagara Town Board is facing in the not-so-distant future.

Board members will soon be focused on amending the town’s zoning code to correct a previous oversight allowing self-storage businesses to sprout up in commercial areas.

Originally meant strictly for industrial zones within the town, years ago the code was amended to include the B-1 business zoning for one specific project, Building Inspector Charles Haseley said during Wednesday’s work session.

“But they never turned the law back to industrial zoning,” he said. “So (self-storage units) began saturating the business districts.”

It’s the latest long-term project the town faces, following the recently created moratorium on solar and wind farm projects and a discussion of readjusting property values that’s in its infancy.

Board members considered briefly creating a moratorium for the self-storage units like it did for the power facilities. But attorney Corey Auerbach, who has represented the town in various projects including the recent Amazon warehouse matter, presented them with a streamlined idea to avoid the hoops they’d have to jump through to make a moratorium stick.

With no active proposals for self-storage on the town’s radar, Auerbach suggested drafting a revised law simply removing the business type from the B-1 zoning, relegating it back to the desired industrial use, and skipping the moratorium step.

It’s expected the Town Board will set an October date for the public hearing on the zoning change, which would provide the first step in making the change and allow the public to give some insight on the proposed alteration.

From there, the town would need to go through a State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) before adopting any decision, but avoids some extra steps – like forming a committee to study the impact of self-storage on the communities in question – required under a moratorium, Auerbach said.

Any scheduling will be considered at the Town of Niagara board’s next regular meeting, set for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, at Town Hall, 7105 Lockport Road.

November Police-Involved Shooting Matter Resolved

In other Town of Niagara news, state Attorney General Letitia James’s office released the results of the investigation into the death of Daniel Kachinoski that occurred Nov. 19, finding the officer in question could not be charged with a crime and the matter to be concluded.

Kachinoski and his mother reported domestic incidents at their residence in the town that evening, and two Town of Niagara Police officers – Alex Wagner and Angela Micale – responded to the scene.

According to a Town of Niagara-provided timeline of events, Wagner interviewed a woman in the kitchen, later identified as Kachinoski’s mother. Meanwhile, Micale interviewed Kachinoski in a different room.

After several minutes, the timeline details, Kachinoski demands the officers leave the residence, leading Wagner to draw his department-issued TASER and fire at Kachinoski, but fail to subdue. A second firing by Wagner also failed.

At this point, the timeline details, Kachinoski was irate and Micale fired her TASER, though it, too, was unsuccessful. Kachinoski then was noted to pick up both a chair and a knife and advance on Wagner.

Wagner, the timeline details, fired two shots from his firearm, which struck Kachinoski in the chest. The knife landed in the kitchen under a stool as Kachinoski fell to the ground immediately. Kachinoski was later pronounced dead from his injuries.

“The results of the independent review and investigation by the (AG’s office) … (with) BWC (body-worn cameras) and surveillance cameras inside the residence, speak for themselves,” Town of Niagara Police Chief Craig Guiliani said in a statement posted to the department’s Facebook page.

“I believe my officers made every effort to deescalate the situation,” he said. “Unfortunately, Mr. Kachinoski took steps of his own that led my officers having no other choice from the imminent threat they faced. This report vindicates my officers and their actions. It's a tragic situation for all involved.”

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