1/04/2011Posted by MJ
Both the Buffalo News and the LUSJ have reported on the issuing of permits for the demolition of the Lockport Mall structure. The Buffalo News goes into more detail about the next "Smart Growth" threat:
Foes of the Walmart supercenter project are threatening to sue the Town of Lockport again, claiming the building and demolition permits the town issued last week were illegal.
Daniel A. Spitzer, attorney for Lockport Smart Growth, a group of citizens opposing the project at the Lockport Mall site, said Monday the approvals the Planning Board granted the project in November 2007 have expired, and Walmart can’t go forward without reapplying, paying another application fee and going through another public hearing.The town sees it differently:
The town anticipated this angle at the Nov. 12, 2008, Planning Board meeting. The board passed a resolution declaring that the one-year period to use the approvals wouldn’t start until all litigation in the case had concluded. That occurred early last year.
I hope the motion is legal. I've seen this on the city Zoning Board etc. In our case it is usually the permit seeker coming back to explain the need for an extension every year. Starting the clock ticking after, or pausing during litigation makes sence. We'll have to wait and see if the planning board's motion is valid or if a greater change in law was necessary.
Spitzer wasn’t impressed, saying the Planning Board’s 2008 resolution was itself illegal.
“Show me where [the law] gives the Planning Board the authority to change the town law,” Spitzer said. “This is just a giveaway to Walmart.”
Also interesting are the restrictions that Walmart put on use of the property to remain under Gerenal Growth ownership:
The agreement says General Growth cannot place any grocery store, discount store, wholesale club or pharmacy on the property it still owns at the mall site. Other banned uses of the General Growth property include theaters, bowling alley, nightclub, health clubs, spas or any business that sells alcoholic beverages. A full service restaurant would be able to sell alcohol though, and Bon-Ton doesn’t count as a discount store.
“Bon-Ton does not constitute a discount department store or discount store,” according to the agreement.
The three “outparcels” that host the First Niagara, Arby’s and Wendy’s locations can remain in their current forms, but the landscaping, drainage and access points might be subject to change. Walmart will pay for a new sign for its supercenter, the Bon-Ton and the outparcel tenants.
Hopefully General Growth will dress up those out parcels during this process as they are some of the dirtiest looking along that stretch.
LUSJ chimed in on the lawsuit threats.