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Building moratorium set on N. Buffalo Road

The Orchard Park Town Board on Wednesday night put a six-month moratorium on building on North Buffalo Road.

The move covers properties with frontage between Route 20 and the northern border of the Village of Orchard Park, near New Taylor Road. No building permits will be issued there for 180 days.

The purpose of the moratorium is to allow the town to put in place requirements for architecture along that stretch, creating an architectural "overlay district" with its own set of standards.

"We're going to put together an architectural overlay district for that area, just to protect the character of that area," said Councilman David Kaczor. "This has nothing to do with taking any piece of property that is legally able to be developed and stopping it."

Councilwoman Nan Ackerman said that the main rule the town can impose on developers is that buildings be no higher than 35 feet. An overlay district would enforce some degree of continuity in new building.

Kaczor said the town has not been happy with the appearance of some of the development along the North Buffalo Road corridor, which is also state Routes 240 and 277.

The board conducted a public hearing on the moratorium before approving it in a 5-0 vote. Some speakers said they would like to see the moratorium expanded to other areas in the northern part of Orchard Park.

One speaker, Jim Craw, said it should be expanded on Milestrip Road to Quaker Center.

"But I'm not sure how much good this is going to do," Craw said. "Why are you not including more of the 'front door' [to Orchard Park]. This may be too little, too late."

Craw also questioned the timing, because the moratorium will run until the start of May. "I don't think that's a moratorium; that's winter."

Kaczor responded, "Maybe it is too late, but we have to draw a line and say we're going to do something about it."

Ackerman said one factor prompting the moratorium was a recent flurry of property acquisitions along that corridor by developers.

The board canceled its Nov. 21 meeting but set a meeting for 4:30 p.m. next Wednesday to work on the budget. If needed, a meeting also would be added for 6 p.m. next Thursday.

The board would need to approve its 2008 budget at one of those meetings.

Officials said during a public hearing Wednesday on the budget that the 8.86 percent tax rate increase proposed for Hamburg residents living outside the village has been whittled to 8.05 percent.

During next Wednesday's meeting, the board plans to look at new insurance options that could cut the increase further, officials said.


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