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APPEAL URGED IN ZONING DECISION CHEEKTOWAGA TO WEIGH CHALLENGE IN LOSSON RD. CASE

Cheektowaga Town Attorney James J. Kirisits is recommending that the town ask the state's highest court to overturn a Losson Road zoning decision.

Councilman Andrew A. Kulyk, head of the Town Board's Zoning Committee, said he will sponsor a resolution authorizing the appeal and expects the board to agree to it. Unless the decision is overturned by the Court of Appeals, it could have a negative impact in opening up the residential street to commercial development, Kulyk said.

Los-Green Inc. wants to build a strip shopping plaza on a triangular tract it owns between Losson Road and Crabapple Lane, Kulyk said.

Los-Green sued in State Supreme Court, challenging a 1986 Town Board action that rezoned several Losson Road properties, including the site of the proposed shopping plaza, from commercial to residential.

The Appellate Division recently upheld the decision to invalidate the rezoning to residential.

Kulyk said the further appeal is necessary to try to keep Losson Road "one of the nicest streets in this town."

Currently, Losson is completely residential along its entire 3-mile length, with the exception of its intersection with Union Road at its western terminus, Kulyk said.

"Losson Road is the gateway to Stiglmeier Park, and many residents have made substantial investments in their homes," he added. "We are defending the residential character of all neighborhoods by challenging this lawsuit."

Properties on the south side of Losson Road opposite Stigleimer Park also were rezoned from commercial to residential in 1986, and if the decision is not overturned it may have an impact on these sites, Kirisits said.

The Losson Road area "has changed from its original zoning character in the late '60s and the town determined that the area should be residential," after it became the location of the town's largest park, Kirisits said.

He said he believes the town has a good case to go before the Court of Appeals, saying he was surprised by the decision against the town. But he noted that the high court would have to agree to hear the case, and said such permission "is not readily granted."

Although the town is planning a thorough overhaul of its zoning code, it may take a couple of years and it "would be better" to have the matter resolved soon, Kirisits said.

A portion of the tract owned by Los-Green is zoned residential and was not affected by the decision. Los-Green would have to rezone this portion for the planned shopping center, or scale down the size of the project before it could be built, Kulyk said.

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