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BOARD TABLES REZONING FOR CAMP RD. SITE

A developer's request to rezone 17 acres on Camp Road, close to the Hamburg exit in Hamburg, to commercial did not get off the drawing table Monday night.

The Town Board unanimously tabled the rezoning proposal by Richard J., Richard R. and Nicholas S. Izzo for land just northwest of the Thruway exit, adjacent to the Hojo Inn by Howard Johnson's, to general commercial from residential agricultural.

At the same time, the issue apparently throws into question the status of a three-story Hampton Inn planned for a 2-acre tract at Exit 57.

The board had been ready to refer the Izzos' rezoning request to the Planning Board but then abruptly backed off after a brief presentation Monday by Thomas Butler of Nussbaumer & Clarke Inc. on behalf of the Izzos.

Several board members questioned what they felt was too small of a buffer area between what would be built behind the Hojo Inn and a residential area the land backs up to along Dartmouth Street. The board also cited concerns about potential traffic problems and wants more information about what types of businesses and tenants would be sought.

A screening committee that reviews such applications before they go before the Planning Board found some merit in the plan but also had some concerns, given the nearby neighborhood.

"In this case, this is an area that the master plan shows as commercial," Councilman D. Mark Cavalcoli said. "However, it abuts a residential area that has concerns."

Butler said a detailed traffic study is being done, and wetlands concerns are being reviewed. "We understand there are some concerns," he said. "We think there's an area along the residential strip that could be reserved for a buffer strip."

He said the developer envisions a 20- to 25-foot buffer, with mature trees and supplemental plantings of shrubs and trees along the rear property lines of homes backing up to the land. A large stockade wooden fence is currently located behind Superior Auto Leasing and Sales, along with trees.

Councilwoman Kathleen C. Hochul stressed that the town looks to have developers provide at least a 100- to 120-foot buffer in rezoned parcels near residential areas. "Twenty feet is nothing to speak of," she said. "I'm very troubled with the proximity of the residents."

Butler said changes for the property have been eyed for several months, and the odd-shaped tract runs next to the Hojo Inn, near Superior Auto and the Thruway's on and off ramps.

Under questioning from Cavalcoli, Butler said the developer envisioned a business park with professional offices, some of them geared toward research and development.

Butler also said the Izzos are still interested in attracting other hotels and motels to the site, but he said that two hotels planned for the land have since changed plans and are going to locate across the street on the opposite side of Camp Road.

Earlier this month, it was announced that the Hampton Inn was looking to locate a 72-room hotel on two acres at Thruway Exit 57, with Ohio-based NH Hospitality Group looking to buy the land for $275,000 from Commerce Joint Venture, a real estate investment group.

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