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Town of Niagara file photo
Town of Niagara file photo

Town of Niagara zoning law change for self-storage facilities on the horizon

Fri, Dec 8th 2023 12:25 pm

By Timothy Chipp

Contributing Writer

One of the final hurdles standing in the way of a Town of Niagara zoning law change has been cleared, paving the way for approval.

Niagara Town Council members are expected to vote on changing the permissions for self-storage facilities in the town at the meeting set for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The law change, proposed in September, required permission from the Niagara County Planning Board before any local approval could happen, according to town Special Counsel Corey A. Auerbach.

Auerbach cited Section 239-M of the General Municipal Code in his explanation, which requires towns to present to the Niagara County Planning Board any change in zoning ordinance or local law if there are county or state roads with zoning that will be affected by the proposed change.

In November, the Planning Board gave the proposal its stamp of approval, Auerbach said during the Town Board’s December work session this past week, allowing the Town Board to consider the matter this month.

The proposed change will only affect commercially zoned property in the town, removing the option to construct what are deemed self-storage facilities in the business zoning.

Self-storage facilities would remain an available option in both light and heavy industrial zones should the change be approved Tuesday.

A Town Board public hearing was held on the matter in October, after which outgoing Supervisor Lee Wallace noted feelings there were too many of the facilities in the town for its size.

At the public hearing, town officials heard from a business owner who questioned the wording of the new law. He asked if the zoning changes included warehousing for business use.

He was assured by Wallace the law did not include warehouses. Wallace said the town would need to tighten the language in the law to avoid any misunderstandings or unintended consequences.

The board did not address any verbiage changes at the work session this past week.

In other Town of Niagara news, the board is also expected to take action Tuesday on approving a privately owned lift station at the approved site of the Amazon warehouse that has yet to begin construction.

Auerbach said the Amazon project’s approval last year through the State Environmental Quality Review process was contingent upon a lift station, which is a sewer pumping mechanism, being installed at the warehouse.

Auerbach said the plan is for the station to tie directly into the county’s sewer system in the area.

Amazon’s developer partner, JB2 Partners, would pay for the station, Auerbach said.

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