Concerns by neighbors over fumes and noise that might be created by a proposed bus garage off the Hamburg Turnpike led one Lackawanna councilman Monday to vote against the project pending a second public hearing next month.
The measure to approve the land sale and construction was approved 4-1 with Third Ward Councilman Joseph Jerge rejecting it because the concerns of residents were not aired.
The 4,500-square-foot structure would be built on 3.93 acres at the end of Albright Court, said Fred K. Heinle, director of development. The proposed development of the property is intended for office and mechanic space and to house buses that service Lackawanna City School District.
Developer Nicholas Costa offered $50,000 to purchase the parcel, acknowledging the fact that a large portion of the property is taken up by a perimeter berm. In addition, Costa agreed to construct a 10-foot privacy fence along the top of the berm.
“All the buses are brand new,” Heinle pointed out. “There will be zero emissions.”
Fifteen residents of nearby Wilmuth Avenue turned out Wednesday for the Lackawanna Planning and Development Board meeting scheduled for 5:30 p.m., but that session began 15 minutes early. The residents – some on hand for the City Council meeting Monday – said the order of the two items on the agenda was reversed, and their concerns about emissions and noise created by the bus fleet were not addressed.
Council President Keith Lewis opted for a public hearing to be held at 6 p.m. Aug. 15, the date of the council’s next regular session. First Ward Councilman Abdulsalam K. Noman suggested the meeting should be moved to the residents’ neighborhood to make it easier for them to attend.
“We’re looking as a strapped city to accept all businesses who want to be here,” said Lewis, “but we must listen to the concerns of residents.”
In other business, the owner of a Ridge Road entertainment complex that was shut down in May after complaints that alcohol was being illegally served, returned to the council for the fourth time in an attempt to obtain a new business registration.
Ronald Amos, the owner of 283 Ridge, continued to request his business be registered again so that he can use the space at the rear of the property for parties and events. Amos submitted a statement stipulating that all agreements to rent the space would remain alcohol free.
Steel City Productions, where the illegal sale and consumption of alcohol was discovered, leased one floor of the property from Amos, who was chided by council members for shirking his responsibility.
In May, two Lackawanna police officers were injured when they entered the premises and were jumped by patrons, said James Kuna, director of public safety.