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City of Tonawanda hands off subdivision site approval to planning board

The City of Tonawanda Common Council has approved a plan to streamline economic development and planning for new subdivisions by allowing final site plan approvals at the Planning Board level.

Subdivisions and projects larger than half an acre currently must go to the Council for site plan approval, to make sure a project has proper zoning and meets state and federal statutes. The city is allowed to transfer this power to its Planning Board.

Mayor Rick Davis said this move is designed to take the politics out of whether or not a project moves forward.

"(The Planning Board) can look at a project based on merit, rather than which way the political winds are blowing," Davis said.

"Plus they have the training," said Second Ward Councilor Jackie A. Smilinich of the Planning Board.

Planning Board Chairman Mark Warren said, "You create the laws and we enforce them. The comprehensive plan is our bible."

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