Cementing a deal: AL Asphalt files environmental study to Hamburg planning board
TOWN OF HAMBURG, N.Y. (WIVB) — Plans for an asphalt plant are back before the Town of Hamburg. The plan has caused years of controversy, especially among people living near the proposed site on Camp Road.
Some residents said at the Wednesday night planning board meeting that they thought this debate was over three years ago. AL Asphalt submitted an environmental impact study to the town in August in the hopes of cementing a deal.
“Well we thought that we would be able to have a chance to comment. The main concern is the environmental impact,” Karen Coen said.
The meeting on Sept. 7 did not allow for public comment on the project. The board stated on the record that they received the draft study and planned to review it in its entirety. The board also proposed and passed a motion to hire additional experts, including air quality and traffic experts, to help them assess the document.
In 2019, the company used the town and claimed they did not need an environmental study. A judge threw out the lawsuit, meaning the study had to be completed for the project to be considered.
“Basically we said it has potential adverse environmental impacts so we needed to have a more formal review. So the applicant is back in front of us to do that more formalized review,” William Clark, chairman of the town planning board, said. “It’s not necessarily that they were missing something or that something wasn’t provided. The first thing is to decide if it has to go through this process. We said yes to that. Then it goes through the process.”
The town is following the State Environmental Quality Review Act, which sources say includes both objective and subjective reports. The public will have a chance to comment and the board will have to address those concerns in their environmental review as well.
Residents attended Wednesday’s meeting in the hopes of sharing their thoughts.
“The only way to get off the site right now is through the Village of Hamburg streets. We want to make sure that it’s safe that it doesn’t have any environmental situations we’re looking to learn more,” Village of Hamburg Mayor Thomas Tallman added.
Some say they do not want the project at all. Coen lives less than half a mile from the proposed site and she fears it will negatively impact property values and create an unhealthy environment.
“Our school, the Hamburg High School, and the middle school is less than 0.8 miles away. We also have a nursing home that’s even closer,” Coen said.
Representatives from AL Asphalt declined to comment to News 4, but they did attend the planning board meeting.
The planning board will decide by Sept. 21 if the document is sufficient to go up for public review and comment.