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Proposed sale of land on Davison Road is back on Niagara County Legislature agenda

LOCKPORT – The sale of county-owned land on Davison Road to R.B. Mac Construction Co. of Lockport, which has been discussed and negotiated for three years without being completed, is back on the Niagara County Legislature agenda for Tuesday’s meeting.

This time, the lawmakers will be voting on a slight revision of the sale contract they approved last June, but Assistant County Attorney R. Thomas Burgasser said an actual closing date for the sale is “way down the road.”

One change in the contract, Burgasser said, is that R.B. Mac will commit to not constructing low-income housing on the 16.9 acres of land fronting on Davison Road, for which the company is paying $50,700, the same price as in last year’s version of the contract.

The original bid specifications called for a mixed-use residential and office development in the former county infirmary, also known as the Switzer Building, which has been vacant for 13 years and is believed to be full of asbestos and mold.

Last June, after Legislature Minority Leader Dennis F. Virtuoso, D-Niagara Falls, pointed out that Majority Leader Richard E. Updegrove, R-Lockport, had promised that there would not be low-income housing, the Legislature passed a resolution barring it. That led to a renegotiation of the contract.

“It was not being purchased for low-income housing,” said R. Gerard Hogan, attorney for the buyer.

The property borders on some of Lockport’s most upscale neighborhoods.

R.B Mac has five years to develop the parcel to the county’s liking. If it does, the company can buy an additional 49.4 acres in the back of the property for $50,000.

Another change in the contract is that the county will keep a 10-foot-wide strip leading to the AnJo Summer Baseball diamonds, which are and will remain on county property. Hogan said that will make access easier for all players and spectators.

Once the Legislature approves the contract, Burgasser said, R.B. Mac likely will approach the Town and City of Lockport to resolve the municipal boundary, which runs through the 16.9-acre parcel. In fact, it runs right through the old infirmary building.

In 2012, R.B. Mac let it be known that it would like the entire property to be in the town, where taxes are lower.

Once the boundary is moved, “they’ve got to get their plan approved,” Burgasser said, referring to the Planning Board.