A citizens group on Grand Island is mobilizing again in an effort to block the latest mega-warehouse proposal for the town, claiming the project by Acquest Development would be "far too large" and "does not fit with the general character" of the community.
The arguments by the Coalition for Responsible Economic Development for Grand Island (CRED4GI) largely mirror what the group used to successfully object to the plan this summer by national developer Trammell Crow to build a massive five-story distribution facility for online retailer Amazon.
The proposed Amazon project on a 144-acre plot of land next to between Long and Bedell roads did not comply with the town code, so the developer sought a rezoning of the property that necessitated more reviews, hearings and public input. The strong negative reaction eventually caused Amazon to cancel what had been dubbed Project Olive in economic development circles.
In this case, Acquest wants to put up a 1.08-million-square-foot high-bay facility, but with no tenant lined up and the potential to divide it among multiple users. That's less than a third of the size of Amazon's 3.78 million-square-foot facility, although it's also one-third larger in its ground footprint and would involve 138 acres compared to 123 acres for Amazon.
But the new project would be only one story tall and 45 feet in height, with 1,292 parking spaces – 30% fewer than the Amazon plan – and 383 trailer spaces, a 75% increase. And according to Acquest officials, it complies fully with the town code, so it doesn't require more than Planning Board approval of the design and site plan.
Nevertheless, the citizens group plans to bring its members to the Grand Island Town Board meeting at 8 p.m. Monday to voice their opposition, citing "even more" traffic, air and noise pollution and "negative environmental impacts" than the Amazon project. It's calling for a fresh environmental review of the project.
“We anticipate a variety of substantial impacts to our quality of life, including traffic, health, impacts to wildlife and habitats, impacts to migratory birds and the Niagara River,” said Cathy Rayhill, spokeswoman for CRED4GI.
“In spite of all efforts that Acquest Development may make to mitigate these impacts, they cannot claim that this project will not have at least one significant environmental impact on Grand Island and its residents,” she said.