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Hamburg officials weigh change to town's permit approval process

Hamburg officials are considering changes to the town's permit approval process that will make the town more "shovel ready" for business parks.

The "pre-permitted site incentive" is a local law that would reduce the approval process time for individual companies.

"This is not taking the Planning Board out of the process, it is making them involved earlier in the process," said Drew Reilly, the town's planning consultant.

Typically, a developer would file a generic environmental impact statement for an industrial park before construction takes place. It could be several years after the generic statement has been filed before a company decides to construct a building at the industrial park. The company still must go through site plan approval with the Planning Board.

But if the business park has been pre-permitted by the Town Board, the approval would come before the business is identified and the company could go straight to the building department for building and site permits.

"One of the things we hear from the development community is the ability for them to get speed to market -- how quickly they can propose a project, get it in the ground and get it up and running," Reilly said.

A public hearing was conducted Monday night on the proposed local law that would allow the new process.

"New York State allows you to incentivize things that are important to the community," Reilly said.

If the industrial park receives pre-permitted site incentive designation, projects proposed for the site would be reviewed for conformance to the zoning and other conditions placed on the project during the pre-approval stage. If the planning and engineering departments determine the project conforms with environmental findings and town standards, and other regulatory permits and approvals have been issued, the company can apply for site development and building permits.

"It's about competition these days, it's about being ready for people to come in," Reilly said.

Also Monday night, the Town Board extended payments to Prospect Lawn Cemetery for another year. The town last year started giving the cemetery $1,000 a month.

Under state law, municipalities are responsible for maintaining cemeteries that run out of money. The law also allows municipalities to provide funding, goods and services to the cemetery.

The town also would add three people to the cemetery's board of directors: Walters, Mary Dosch of the town's Finance Department and Chamber of Commerce President Betty Newell.

The board also observed a moment of silence for Vera L. Kaiser, a retired teacher and member of town taxpayers groups who attended board meetings for years. Kaiser, 94, died Aug. 10.


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