The Planning Board Wednesday approved a plan for a Microtel Inn and Suites at the former Century Club property, 6611 Buffalo Ave., with about a dozen conditions regulating such items as parking, lighting, fencing and landscaping.
The conditions require developer Frank A. Amendola to provide fencing between the motel property and an apartment building to the east. They also require him to move the head of a public hiking path envisioned to someday travel along the Niagara River shore all the way to the falls. The trail will connect with the sidewalk on Buffalo Avenue rather than the parking lot for safety reasons, according to Thomas J. DeSantis, senior city planner.
Amendola's purchase agreement with the city also requires him to make improvements to and provide maintenance and public access to the city-owned LaSalle Waterfront Park adjacent to the property.
Amendola also must submit plans to the state parks office for review and applicable permits.
Amendola said he hoped to begin building before the fall construction season ends. If the foundation were poured in time, he said, the steel-frame construction could proceed through the winter.
The four-story building will have 104 guest rooms, including 54 doubles, 24 singles and 26 suites. The building was designed for minimum impact on the lot and is oriented north to south, tapering at the north end to accommodate the wedge-shaped lot and allow for traffic control. The 48-foot high structure won't obstruct anyone's view of the river because it is set back 100 feet from the shoreline, Amendola said.
In other business, the board:
Rejected a request for a karate studio at 3695 Pine Ave. because commercial use is not allowed in a single-family residential district. The building has been used for a mini-mart and other commercial uses, but reverted to the residential zoning because it has been vacant for more than six months. Planning Board members said they endorse the use but had to follow the law. The board's denial was needed so the owner could apply for a variance from the Board of Appeals.
Approved a parking lot at 417 Portage Road for Harold J. Smith, owner of the former Magaddino Funeral Home and an office building at Portage Road and Niagara Street. The parking lot will be in a residential district but the board could approve it because it is contiguous to a commercial district where Smith's buildings are located, DeSantis said.
Discussed a proposal by Niagara County to expand a temporary parking lot for the Trott Access Center at Portage Road and 11th Street from 50 to 200 cars. DeSantis said he had voiced concerns with the county over issues such as dust, aesthetics, loss of open space and encroachment on nearby school athletic facilities. DeSantis said the county has not provided landscaping, buffering or curbs or wheel stops in lots at other county buildings in the city, such as those at Cedar Avenue and Third Street or at Niagara and 10th streets. DeSantis said a county representative is to meet with the board to discuss concerns even though the board has no jurisdiction over the county.
Tabled a request for a 100-foot cellular phone antenna tower for Frontier Cellular Co. The City Council Monday enacted a 90-day moratorium on cellular phone towers, so city planners can update the Master Plan and zoning ordinance to address them.
DeSantis said the ordinance was written before the proliferation of cell phones was envisioned. The federal government prohibits local municipalities from banning the towers. The moratorium will allow the city time to identify preferred locations for cellular towers, he said. The proposed amendments to the zoning ordinance will be subject to a public hearing before adoption. DeSantis said the city is reviewing regulations adopted by other communities.
The board approved a similar request by another cellular phone company last month.