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TOWN BILLING BUFFALO CRUSHED STONE OVER REZONING

Cheektowaga is charging Buffalo Crushed Stone nearly $20,000 in fees, as part of the company's bid to rezone more land for mining off Como Park Boulevard.

The town -- in an effort to recover the cost of reviewing Buffalo Crushed Stone's lengthy, detailed study on the effects of quarry expansion -- can charge the mining company half of one percent of the project's total value, according to Councilman Thomas M. Johnson Jr.

That would be $19,410, Cheektowaga officials estimate.

Deputy Attorney Kevin G. Schenk two weeks ago sent a letter advising Buffalo Crushed Stone of the charge, although company attorneys have neither disputed nor agreed to pay the fee, officials said.

The charge came up during a work session Monday night when the Town Board discussed allocating an additional $5,000 to continue retaining attorney Arthur J. Giacalone. Giacalone was hired in September at a cost of $3,500 to help the town review Buffalo Crushed Stone's lengthy rezoning application.

Cheektowaga will likely use some of the $19,410 to help pay for this outside legal counsel.

"This $19,000 in fees could be applied on any expenses incurred," Town Accountant Robert Kaczmarek told town officials.

Buffalo Crushed Stone wants to rezone 13 acres to the west of its existing quarry, 50 acres to the south and 76 acres to the east for more mining. Only 64 total acres would be mined. Nonetheless, nearby residents are opposed.

Buffalo Crushed Stone is preparing a detailed study on the effects of quarry expansion, so the Town Board can review it and eventually decide if it wants to grant the rezoning.

Although there is no time limit on when that study has to be completed, officials anticipate it will be finished some time in May.

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