Orchard Park Town Board members Wednesday night put off a decision on rezoning a parcel that would allow People Inc. to build subsidized senior housing.
Nearly a dozen residents, many of them senior citizens, spoke in favor of the 42-unit apartment building that would be built at Mid-County Drive and Southwestern Boulevard.
"Since 1981, I have been trying to get senior housing in this town," Mildred Goodenough told the Town Board. "Do something decent tonight."
Two residents spoke against the proposal, including an alternative member of the Planning Board, which has recommended against the rezoning.
Board members invited Planning Board Chairman Harold Fabinsky to sit next to them and explain his board's recommendation.
"I believe I've heard an effort to make this sound like a debate about affordable housing," said Fabinsky, adding that the issue is the location of the proposed building.
No one specifically mentioned the suggestions of discrimination, raised last fall after the town asked for the ZIP codes of residents of People Inc.'s other senior housing, Carnation Apartments. But town officials stated several times the town supports senior housing, with more than 200 units already built and more in the pipeline.
Resident John Bailey, who serves on the Joint Economic Development Committee, said the town cannot afford to lose even two acres of industrial land that would be rezoned under the project. Several residents noted that the town rezoned land for Walmart from industrial to commercial.
Councilman David Kaczor said the rezoning of the Walmart property could be considered spot zoning by the Town Board.
Board members said they might decide on the rezoning at their next meeting April 7.