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Board tables hotel patio plan

Concerns about loud music and a looming proposal for the city to abandon an adjacent alley led the Buffalo Planning Board on Tuesday to table a decision on a developer's plans to build a multi-level outdoor patio at the Hotel Lafayette.

Rocco Termini's Signature Development is expected to request to purchase Darrow Alley, which runs next to the former hotel at Washington and Clinton streets that Termini is turning into a mixed-use property.

The Common Council has the final say on whether the city would abandon the alley; no formal proposal has been sent to lawmakers yet.

Termini's hotel plans include an expanded Lafayette Tap Room, which will be run by Earl Ketry, who runs Pearl Street Grill & Brewery.

A memorandum of understanding is being negotiated between Termini and Jake Schneider, who owns the adjacent Warehouse Lofts, 210 Ellicott St.

Planning Board member Horace A. Gioia is negotiating the agreement between Termini and Schneider, noting neither wants loud music affecting residents of their buildings.

Gioia, an attorney, said he doesn't believe Schneider will accept any deal that would allow live bands on the patio.

Gioia, who recused himself from Tuesday's vote because of his involvement with parties in the project, said he plans on having the agreement done for the January board meeting.

Board member Cynthia A. Schwartz suggested the board consider limiting any potential approval to a one-year period, which would give the panel a chance to review whether there are any noise complaints.

Board member Frank A. Manuele said he would like to see information from the Public Works Department about the extent of any city-owned infrastructure on the alley property, which includes at least a sewer.

The proposed sale would transfer maintenance responsibility of the alley to Signature Development, said Jonathan Morris, the project architect.

In other matters, the board:

* Approved a minor change to Benderson Development's plans for a new fitness center and four other buildings at a site near Elmwood and Hertel avenues. Benderson will not tear down a former warehouse on the site, bound by Elmwood, Hertel and Botsford Place.

* Approved plans to bring an Ace Hardware store to Summer Street.

The approximately 3,000-square-foot store will be located in part of the Schuele Paint Co. building at 12 Summer, between Linwood Avenue and Main Street, said Paul Leahey, Schuele president. A 740-square-foot addition will be put on the building as part of the project.

Opening for the store is expected around April 15, Leahey said.

* Approved plans from Wesselman Dry Cleaners to build an 11,000-square-foot storage building at 550 Colvin Ave., adjacent to its existing facility at 564 Colvin.


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