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Board, mining company challenge ruling

The court decision on mining hailed as a partial victory by both Buffalo Crushed Stone and the Town of Cheektowaga is being appealed by both parties.

State Supreme Court Justice Joseph R. Glownia ruled last October that the quarry on Como Park Boulevard could expand on two sections north of Como Park, but not to the west toward Union Road or to the east across Indian Road. An order spelling out the decision was issued in April.

The Town Board on Monday night hired attorney David J. Seeger to file a notice of cross appeal and to "vigorously pursue" an appeal of the portion of the order that negatively affects the town.

The matter has been in court for nine years.

Buffalo Crushed Stone had sought to rezone 76 acres east of its existing quarry as well as 50 acres directly north of Como Park Boulevard and another 13 acres west of the quarry to aggregate district, which permits mining. The company withdrew its request in 1998, and filed a lawsuit against the town, claiming its mining operation was grandfathered.

Council Member Thomas M. Johnson Jr. said the town disagrees with Glownia's grandfathering the right to mine in the area north of Homewood Avenue.

"The decision was based on a claim that in 1959 the then-Town Board granted mining rights, when in fact, . . . Buffalo Crushed Stone signed a settlement agreement with the Town of Cheektowaga whereby they agreed to abide by our zoning boundaries and setbacks," he said.

That agreement would not have allowed mining where the judge granted the right to mine, he added.

"That argument was brought out on appeal, so we can challenge that part of the judge's decision while defending the balance of the judge's decision," Johnson said.

Seeger will be paid at a rate of $100 per hour, not to exceed $10,000 for the appeal.

Also Monday night, the board voted to issue a request for proposals and qualifications to six real estate firms to handle the sale of the former South Branch Library. The proposals are due Aug. 8.

Kideney Architects of Amherst is in the midst of a study of town facilities and space requirements. It said it had not come across a town department that could use the library, and recommended selling it. The library, at 2660 William St., has been vacant since it closed in 2005.

Johnson voted against the measure to seek the broker proposals. He said following the meeting that the board has not developed the criteria it will use to seek a buyer, or what types of uses it would prefer at the site. He said the town should be open to using the building for community activities.

e-mail: bobrien@buffnews.com

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