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Mount View buyer seeks variance

LOCKPORT – The Youngstown businessman who wants to purchase Niagara County’s Mount View Health Facility for conversion into an assisted living facility will go before the Town of Lockport Zoning Board of Appeals for a variance Tuesday.

But that doesn’t mean the deal is ready to go, David M. Tosetto said.

He said the variance request, needed for the conversion of the five-story building’s use, “is just part of the due diligence.”

“I haven’t received final approval from the [state] Public Health Council,” County Manager Jeffrey M. Glatz said, “We’re still putting it together.”

The state Health Department approved the allocation of 150 assisted living beds to Mount View in January as part of its “Opportunity for Development” initiative, spokesman Jeffrey Hammond said.

However, the approval was somewhat tentative, because the department still would have to issue a “certificate of need” for Tosetto to go ahead with the project. That hasn’t happened yet.

“The Part 1 CON process just takes a long time,” Tosetto said.

He thought he might hear from Albany in 30 to 60 days, but commented, “It could happen at any time.”

The County Legislature voted last July to sell Tosetto the building for $550,000, but that was conditional on an asbestos survey and the Health Department’s approval.

Mount View was constructed as a tuberculosis sanitarium in 1939, but the county later converted it into a hospital and then into a nursing home which the county closed at the end of 2007. The building has been unused ever since.

The county refused a state recommendation to turn the building into an assisted living facility at its own expense.