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Lafarge quarry expansion unaddressed in draft of Town of Lockport comprehensive plan

LOCKPORT – The draft version of the Town of Lockport’s new comprehensive plan, posted on the town website last week, is silent on whether the Lafarge North America stone quarry should be allowed to expand to the south side of Hinman Road.

The 64-page draft, prepared by planner Andrew C. Reilly of the Wendel engineering firm, doesn’t mention any specific economic-development projects.

Residents of the Hinman Road area, angered by the town’s 2012 decision to allow Lafarge to mine a larger area of its current quarry, had hoped the new plan and the zoning decisions that will flow from it would prevent Lafarge from continuing its mining and blasting after it runs out of usable stone in the current quarry in a few years.

“The document is about 50 percent complete,” Supervisor Marc R. Smith said. “We’re waiting for public input and input from the town (government) and the Town Board. … We’re trying not to presuppose what the input will be.”

That public input will begin to be gathered from 6 to 8 p.m. May 14 in Town Hall. That will be what Smith called “an open-house style” public meeting, with a brief presentation by Reilly at 7 p.m.

The results of the input will be presented in a second meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. June 19.

“I’m hoping in September or October, we can move to a public hearing,” Smith said.

The draft as currently posted consists mostly of a survey of current conditions in the town, but contains little detail on future development.

The document does say the town should be open to economic development in what it calls the Central West portion of the town, which includes not only Lafarge, but the town industrial park.

Elsewhere in the town, the plan embodies an expectation that the southeast part of the town, around the hamlet of Rapids, will be the scene of future residential growth – if enough sewers are installed.

Smith said the Rapids area currently shows “a lack of capability of our infrastructure to support much more development.”

The supervisor added, “The Starpoint School District, which all that area is in, is very desirable.”

He said Rapids could see more businesses opening if the expected residential growth occurs.

“There’s an awful lot of wetlands there, so that would have to be taken into account,” Smith acknowledged.

The draft suggests that a growth plan be worked out in conjunction with the Town of Newfane for the hamlet of Wrights Corners.

It also says the town should advocate the realignment of the intersection of South Transit, Rapids and Fisk roads into a regular four-way intersection to assist traffic flow.

At present, a northbound driver on South Transit may have to stop at a red light at Fisk and then move forward about 100 feet to another one at Rapids. Fisk runs west into Pendleton, so that town would have to have input on a realignment.

Other traffic control or turning-lane upgrades are envisioned at Robinson Road’s intersections with Beattie Avenue, Snyder Drive and South Transit Road.