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Where We Live: Lancaster


Whether the Buffalo Lancaster Airport should expand and cleaning up town zoning to clarify just what is allowed in the town’s light industrial zoning district continue to be hot topics at Town Hall.

Town officials are still weighing several matters pertaining to the airport, while a pocket of residents – many who are part of the Safe Aviation Coalition of Lancaster – continue to watch the issue closely, citing quality of life and property value concerns if the airport were to expand.

A jammed public hearing related to the airport held July 1 has town officials saying they want to see if a consensus can be reached between residents and airport officials.

“I don’t know if it’s possible, but there’s a lot of tension,” Lancaster Councilman Mark Aquino said during the Town Board meeting last Monday. Still, Aquino said he’d like to see if a consensus can be reached between both groups.

“It’s not fair to the airport, nor the residents” for the unresolved issues to continue, he said. “I would like some finality to the issue. It’s been going on for years.”

Councilman John Abraham concurred. “I hate to make a decision as a board, without trying to get some agreement between both sides,” he said.

Supervisor Dino Fudoli acknowledged it has been “a tough two weeks” since the public hearing was held on the airport. “I can’t count the e-mails I have received on this issue,” he said. “There were a lot of outside Lancaster residents (at the hearing) and we let them speak. I would like to work with both sides to see if there is some common ground we can find.”

A Jiffy-Tite Co. executive said the Lancaster Airport plays an integral role in the company’s business. “Could we use the Buffalo airport? Yes, but the Lancaster Airport offers a great advantage,” he said, noting its close proximity to the Walden Avenue-based company.

A resident suggested the town insist that airport officials notify the community if any large plans are landing there. He expressed concern if a longer runway was allowed. “I’m just focused on public safety,” he said.

Also last week, the Town Board unanimously approved an amended purchase price tied to its sale of land and a one-story building at 3949 Walden Ave. to Erie Engineered Products, after problems with the building were detected. The purchase price has been reduced to $1.27 million as a result of the company’s objection to the physical capacity of the property and to correct a miss-statement about the property’s zoning. The town agreed to the changes to sell the property to Erie Engineered Products.

Initially, the town had sought to sell the property to the company for $1.42 million last December. The company has said it will accept the condition of the building roof and electrical capacity of the property.

• The Town Board extended a two-year agreement on the site plan previously approved for Benderson Development Co. for the proposed construction of four, single-story retail buildings, totaling 85,980 square fee, located a 4817 Transit Road. The extension runs from Nov. 2, 2012 to Nov. 1, 2014 with two conditions.

The conditions involve signals at the project entrance on Transit Road across from Jessica Lane, in lieu of a signal at the entrance to Kohl’s Department Store. The Town Board also noted that it considered the one-way, eastbound road off Transit Road near the south property line to be an important feature of the design to consider pedestrian safety on the pedestrian walkway.

• The Town Board named two new Lancaster residents to the roster of the Town Line Volunteer Fire Department: Christopher Kidder and Samuel Villafranca.

Also this week:

• The Lancaster Village Board meets in a work session at 6 p.m. Monday, followed by its business meeting at 7 p.m. The board meets in the council chambers on the second floor of the Municipal Building at Broadway and Central Ave.

• The Lancaster Town Board will hold a special meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday to award contracts on the construction of the Lancaster Depew Baseball Indoor Baseball Training Facility. The board tabled action last Monday night on multiple contracts tied to the complex out of concern about the total cost inching close to the $1.7 million the town bonded for the project. The baseball league is paying for the project over a 15-year-payback plan to the town.

Town officials were interested in seeing if some of the ancillary costs could be pulled outside of the bond’s parameters.

Councilman Ronald Ruffino is sponsoring the renewed resolution for the special town meeting, which will be held in the town meeting room at 21 Central Ave.