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Wheatfield board approves parking variation for Aldi store

WHEATFIELD – The Wheatfield Town Board last week approved a measure that will allow the developers of a new Aldi grocery store to include fewer parking spaces than the town’s zoning code normally would require.

The store is to be built on the site of a former go-kart track at 3939 Niagara Falls Blvd. The project originally was designed to include a second building covering 4,000 square feet that could be rented to other commercial tenants.

However, objections to the project from nearby residents led to the abandonment of the notion of having two buildings. Thus, Aldi requested that it be allowed to install 98 parking spaces on the property, instead of the 179 spaces that would be required under the zoning code, based on a formula tied to the size of the store.

The variation is not a variance, which would be permanently attached to the property, town officials pointed out. The reduced parking remains in effect only as long as the newly constructed 17,800-square-foot building is used as an Aldi food store. Any other use means the parking break is canceled and a new owner would have to install 81 more parking spaces.

In other matters last week, the Town Board approved a 2016 contract with Wendel, the town engineering firm, at a monthly retainer of $2,610 per month. That’s a $50 increase from last year’s price. That fee, however, only covers the firm’s attendance at Town Board and Planning Board meetings and availability during weekday business hours. Specific projects will cost extra, depending on a lengthy fee schedule in the contract.

For example, Wendel was approved for a $4,000 payment to work on this year’s stormwater management program.

The board also hired GHD Consulting Services for $32,000 to provide engineering work for a bridge and culvert replacement project on Lemke Drive and Errick Road.

Also, the board approved the hiring of two part-time constables, Sionette Jones and Kevin Schrader, but tabled a proposal to create a part-time post of deputy building inspector.

Meanwhile, the town Planning Board approved site plans for a manufacturing plant and an assisted living project.

Jacob’s Ladder, a maker of high-end workout equipment, is buying the vacant former Motorad plant, 6292 Walmore Road, as a new site to manufacture the machines. The company closed on the $800,000 purchase of the 35,000-square-foot plant Tuesday, in a deal brokered by Tudor Collins Commercial Real Estate of Buffalo. Jacob’s Ladder, which will use 20,000 square feet and rent out the remainder, also has received a property tax abatement from the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency.

The DePaul Assisted Living and Memory Care project on Forest Parkway also was approved. It’s a 59,000-square-foot facility with 80 assisted living beds and a 34-bed memory care unit.