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As president and CEO of the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce, I would like to respond to the recent letter regarding sprawl. I want to make clear that the Chamber supports commercial and residential development and growth in areas appropriately designated in the town's updated master plan.

We believe that the key to success in any endeavor is balance. A diversified economy strikes a balance between business and community, and an adversarial relationship between residents and business is doomed from the start.

It was suggested that there needs to be a cooperative effort between entities to share services and reduce costs. The best cooperative relationship would be between Hamburg residents and businesses. This has already started through the work of Hamburg Community Forum, an informal monthly meeting.

There seems to be a notion that business is the bad guy and this is simply not true. I do not think there is a real understanding of the problems faced by business. It is difficult to create jobs and wealth in an economy that is overburdened by layers of taxes and fees, high utility rates, mandates from legislators and skyrocketing transportation costs.

The worst result we witness daily. Our best and brightest flee to other areas of the country that offer great job opportunities and a cost of living that affords most the ability to own a home and save for their future.

The Chamber chose to make the redevelopment of Camp Road a priority. We know that we must infuse new dollars into Hamburg to help grow businesses and create new jobs, thereby reducing taxes for all.

We feel there is ample acreage on the Izzo property for commercial development and buffers between the adjacent neighborhood. I can appreciate residents wanting woods behind their homes. However, the Izzos should not be restricted from developing property that is virtually next to the Thruway. All interstate highways are crucial to commerce and tourism, and it is natural that commercial development take place at the Camp Road interchange.

If the residents feel strongly about the woods and green space, they might consider buying that property, thus keeping it on the tax rolls.

We also feel strongly that Bryant & Stratton and the Comfort Inn will be great assets. Both will attract some of the new dollars and tax revenue that are so sorely needed.

Our greatest hope is that there not be a chasm between business and residents, but that we all recognize the need for future development and disciplined growth. Unity is the answer.


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