HAMBURG, N.Y. (WIVB) — After four years of debate and push-back from neighbors, plans for a proposed asphalt plant in Hamburg are expected to be rejected by the town’s planning board during a meeting scheduled for Wednesday evening.
This comes after years of residents voicing their concerns about the impact the plant could hvae on the quality of life in the town and village. Since the initial proposal, residents have organized together, attended meetings in large numbers and created lawn signs rejecting the project.
“It’s been going on a long time and I’ll be happy tomorrow to have this off of my plate,” Planning Board Chairman William Clark said.
The A.L. Asphalt Plant was proposed in 2019, but it is just being voted on this week. The project was delayed several times. The developer paused the proposal to look for other properties to develop on in other municipalities and the town called for a more extensive environmental review process.
Earlier this month, the planning board said the developer failed to answer specific questions regarding “deficiencies” in the proposal, including air and water pollution concerns. According to the SEQR findings and determination for the site plan filed by the planning board, it claims the developer “has abandoned its responsibility to be a meaningful participant in the
SEQR process for the Project.”
“Before we can say yes to a project like this, we would want enough information to have all of those questions answered,” Clark said. “The final environmental impact statement that we adopted two weeks ago we stated that we did not have enough information to answer those questions.”
Town Supervisor Randy Hoak commended residents for getting involved in town government and says he believes the board is removing politics from their decision.
“Now, we’re at a point where we’re supposed to be, politics being removed from the decision. It rests at the planning board and I’m confident they’ll make the right decision for the people of Hamburg,” Hoak said.
Hoak added that the Town of Hamburg created a law earlier this year banning asphalt plants from being developed there in the future.
Attorney Ralph Lorigo is representing A.L. Asphalt and said in a statement he believes the town is bowing to political pressure from the public and disagrees with the town-wide ban. If the proposal is denied, he says the company plants to fight the decision in court.
“The major problem with the A.L. Asphalt Plant application is that the developer was never willing to cooperate or collaborate with the Town of Hamburg,” Hoak said.
Since the project’s proposal in 2019, residents have flooded meetings, giving more feedback to guide future town plans. Clark says because of the increased neighbor involvement, the planning board revitalized a decades old comprehensive plan with resident feedback and adjusted zoning laws among other changes.
“There would just be a lot more pollution than maybe the other things that we have around here. It would feel dirty, if that makes sense,” Lauren Brown, a resident of the Town of Hamburg, said.
The planning board is scheduled to meet on Wednesday at 7 p.m. following their work session in Hamburg Town Hall.
Tara Lynch is a Buffalo native and Emmy-nominated reporter who joined the News 4 team in 2022. She previously worked at WETM in Elmira, N.Y., a sister station of News 4. You can follow Tara on Facebook and Twitter and find more of her work here.