The Hamburg Town Board gave the green light Monday to a plan to rezone 13 acres on Southwestern Boulevard for a set of office buildings.
North Forest Office Providers wants to turn the land into six single-story brick office buildings, totaling 98,000 square feet. There are also two out-parcels the developer would like to keep open for other possible uses.
"I find it exciting to have the opportunity to have incubator businesses where some don't have the resources to have something larger," said Councilwoman Kathy Hochul. "To have the opportunity to grow and expand down the line, I like the concept of it."
"The biggest issue here is traffic, making sure the Town Board is satisfied," said Drew Reilly, the town's planning consultant.
He said that isn't expected to be a problem, since New York State already plans a traffic light in conjunction with a project across the street that can be used for the North Forest site as well.
The land had been part of the property owned by the adjacent Maplewood apartments and had been approved several years ago for more apartments. But with a soft market for apartments, the owners reached a deal to sell the property to North Forest, contingent on the office building project receiving its approvals.
Board members said they were concerned about what might be placed in the outer parcels, but conditions were written into the rezoning that bans hotels, motels and drive-through restaurants. Automotive uses aren't allowed in the new commercial zoning.
The board took two actions Monday, voting that the project doesn't need an in-depth environmental review and then granting the rezoning.
The proposed Lowe's store farther west on Southwestern Boulevard will be going through the full environmental review process, however. It's planned for a 36-acre site on the north side of Route 20, near its intersection with Sowles and Camp roads.
The board approved the scope of its environmental review of the Morado Bay Associates project Monday. Among the issues that will be examined are traffic, drainage and the aesthetic effect on the neighborhood.
The review is expected to take about six months, said Reilly. Developers will be required to show they can mitigate any problems that are identified.