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Board vote on hotel plan postponed

After hearing from both sides in the matter, Cheektowaga Town Board members Monday postponed their vote on a proposal to build a high-rise "boutique hotel" across Genesee Street from Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

About 40 Maryvale-area residents -- all apparently against the hotel development -- listened quietly while attorney Sean Hopkins outlined the proposal by Manga LLC of Mississauga, Ont. Hopkins also reminded town officials that the hearing was limited to zoning matters, not the proposed height of the hotel.

"We're seeking to rezone an approximately 3-acre parcel that's located at the end of Burgess Drive from motor services to general commercial," Hopkins said, emphasizing that other town officials have recommended the rezoning.

But if there were any residents supporting the proposed Aloft Hotel, they did not speak up when Town Supervisor James J. Jankowiak opened the hearing. Jankowiak said the board will make its decision on the rezoning at a later date.

The developer has proposed a "new and trendy" design that is unlike anything in the Buffalo area, aimed at attracting young, upscale clients with loft-style rooms, edgy furniture and fixtures, wireless internet connections, flat-screen TVs and oversized showers.

Area residents warn that the high-rise design will likely set a trend for additional hotels that are being planned for the area.

One resident carried a large sign opposing the Manga development.

The Maryvale group also submitted a petition with more than 200 residents of Surfside Drive and nearby streets who oppose the hotel because they fear that at 97 feet tall, it will "loom over" their homes and yards, depressing the value of their property.

After the hearing, Ed Dwyer, a homeowner who lives close to the development, said he and his wife, Bonnie, have heard little that would change their minds.

Hopkins did his best to tout the development, repeating that the developer is willing to provide a number of benefits, including helping the town to possibly acquire the R.J. Corman property that runs between the homes and the hotel site and has been poorly maintained.

Hopkins also noted estimated annual taxes of $158,000 for the town and $148,000 for schools.


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