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Residents oppose development

City of Tonawanda officials are still considering plans for a new residential development near Veterans Park, but many residents expressed their opposition to the plan during the Common Council meeting Tuesday night.

This marks the second straight week many residents spoke out against the plan, which would have Natale Builders develop about 60 small- to medium-sized houses worth between $180,000 and $300,000.

Natale representatives and city officials held a public informational session about the proposed development last week, and most residents who attended spoke out against the project.

On Tuesday, Roger Puchalski questioned the Council about the proposed development, whether the city was allowed to build on green space and how the infrastructure expense would impact nearby residents.

Council President Carleton Zeisz said the city is committed to not spend any money on the development and let Natale handle the expense of infrastructure. But Puchalski remained unconvinced.

"We're in a city that is losing population, in a county that is losing population, in a state that is losing population, and we decided we need more housing," he said. "I don't think it's the best way to go."

Puchalski also wondered if the proposed size of the residential lots was too small to attract buyers, noting there would be little space between the homes and Veterans Park.

Reaction from city officials varied, but most thanked the residents who expressed their opinions.

"As far as I'm concerned, we're still looking at this," Alderman Richard Slisz said. "It's an open issue."

"It's always good to have dialogue," added Mayor Ronald Pilozzi. "The fact remains no decisions have been made."

Zeisz said the Council plans to host another informational meeting about the proposed development with residents in the near future.

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