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Proposed collision shop in Clarence to get further review

A collision shop proposed for Transit Road will get another look by the Clarence Planning Board, after the applicant submitted changes meant to address neighbors' concerns about the project's impact.
The Town Board on Wednesday agreed to send the Gabe's Collision proposal back to the Planning Board for review. Gabe's has proposed building a collision shop, rental car operation and high-end used-car sales showroom at 5817 Transit Road, on 4.3 acres of vacant land between Highland Farms Drive and Laurel Park Lane.
Gabe's, represented by attorney Jeffrey Palumbo, was initially seeking Town Board approval of a special use exception permit to allow the project to go forward.
The Planning Board in early August voted 6-1 to recommend the Town Board not issue the permit. Neighbors had raised objections to the project, and Planning Board members said they determined the project "represents an inconsistent use with town codes and the surrounding residential neighborhoods" at that location.
Gabe's since altered its proposal, moving the building an additional 45 feet away from residences at the site's eastern boundary, to a total of about 100 feet away.
"We thought that might be a good thing, to move that building as far as we could away from the residents," Palumbo said. The revised version also includes more green space and buffering, for the benefit of residents of the neighboring Laurel Park subdivision, he said.
Instead of asking the Town Board to approve a special exception use permit - which would have required "yes" votes from at least four of the five Town Board members - Palumbo asked for the revised proposal to be sent back to the Planning Board for consideration.
Town Councilman Bernard J. Kolber said he liked the new design and layout better than what initially was proposed, and felt it was worthy of another look by the Planning Board.
"It seems considerable they're going to the 100-foot mark," said Town Councilman Robert Geiger.
A Laurel Park resident, Mary Jo Fornes, said she opposed allowing a collision shop to be built at that location. She mentioned that she has used Gabe's services three times in the past and was satisfied with the results. "But I wish he was next door in a house, and not at my close corner with his shop," Fornes said.
Town Supervisor David C. Hartzell Jr. cautioned Fornes to "be careful what you wish for, because you might get it."
"I know that there a lot of businesses looking at that property, and I can assure you that they'll generate 10 times as much traffic as Gabe's Collision," he said, declining to identify them. "Something's going [to be built] on there."
Gabe's has two other area locations, in Cheektowaga and the Town of Tonawanda.
In other business, the Town Board voted 5-0 to reject Cimato Enterprises' request for a clearing, filling and grading permit prior to development plan approval for the proposed Woodland Hills subdivision.