Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: Lancaster Town Zoning Board asked to determine legality of Lancaster-Buffalo Airport

  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    6,456

    Lancaster Town Zoning Board asked to determine legality of Lancaster-Buffalo Airport

    Lancaster Town Zoning Board asked to determine legality of Lancaster-Buffalo Airport expansion
    By Safe Aviation Coalition of Lancaster
    Feb 18, 2010, 16:59

    A group of Lancaster residents, the Safe Aviation Coalition of Lancaster [SACL], has filed an appeal to the Town of Lancaster’s Zoning Board of Appeals [ZBA], asking the board to determine whether the extensive expansion of the Buffalo-Lancaster Airport is legal under the town’s zoning laws. A similar request, made on December 18, 2009 to the Town’s Code Enforcement Officer, Jeffrey H. Simme, has not been responded to by either Mr. Simme, or the Town Attorney, John Dudziak, Esq.,

    The Buffalo-Lancaster Airport is a private airport located at 4343 Walden Avenue, east of Pavement Road. The members of SACL, who are largely concentrated to the south of the airport, have concerns regarding the noise, safety and privacy issues associated with the facility’s operations. It is their contention that the Lancaster Town Board and Code Enforcement Officer have repeatedly violated the town’s zoning ordinance by allowing the airport to substantially expand its size, capacity and functions. SACL’s attorney, Arthur J. Giacalone of East Aurora, NY, provides the following explanation of his clients’ claims:

    Neither the current Town of Lancaster zoning ordinance, nor the zoning code in effect when the airport began its operations in the mid-1960’s, allows construction and operation of an airport or airstrip. The facility is, at best, a “non-conforming use.” Under the town’s zoning laws, a non-conforming use may not expand by more than twenty-five percent (25%) or extend beyond the lot occupied by it at the time it became a non-conforming use. In 1989, when the town’s current zoning law was enacted, the airport occupied approximately 25 acres of land, had a runway about 1,900’ long and 25’ wide, and included a hangar large enough to store 10 airplanes. By 2006, the airport covered 94 acres, its runway had been enlarged to 3,200’ by 75’, and it had three hangars with the capacity to house 44 planes. In 2007, the Town Board and Federal Aviation Administration approved plans that would allow the airport to expand to 143.1 acres [570% larger than its size in 1989], extend its runway to 5,500’ [110% longer than its 1995 length], and substantially increase the number and size of aircraft housed on site.

    Despite the fact that the airport’s consultants have reminded Town of Lancaster officials that the airport and surrounding area is not zoned for use as an airport, the town officials have repeatedly approved proposed expansions, and have expressed support for large, taxpayer-funded projects. Additionally, although the Lancaster Industrial Development Agency is required by its enabling statute to take into consideration local zoning laws when considering financial aid requests, it has approved multiple Buffalo-Lancaster Airport applications for real property and sales tax exemptions.

    At no time have the zoning laws of the Town of Lancaster been enforced. At no time have the rights and concerns of the residents living near the airport, or under the flight paths of the airplanes that utilize the Walden Ave. facility, been taken into consideration or protected.

    Comments?

  2. #2
    Member nickelcityhomes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    1,636
    The first mistake is believing that a zoning board is designed to protect your property rights by depriving others the use of the highest and best value of the neighboring land.

    The second mistake is believing that zoning board members do not operate on a purely political basis. These board positions are designed to support the existing town board members, usually providing a bullpen of potential candidates for future local elections. Keep in mind that the members of these boards are appointed by the town board. The elected members of the town board generally won't win election without backing from the local republican/democratic committee. Appointing a non-partisan zoning/planning board member is a limiting career gesture.

    A comprehensive plan is nothing more than a tool for engineering companies to extract money from taxpayers. Fools gold. Any rookie can circumvent the process with a minimal outlay of cash. Imagine what a financially and politically backed entity such as an airport can do. Go to the next association of towns convention if you don't believe me. Those divine members of the zoning, planning, and town boards don't go there simply for the free airfare and hotel rooms. The informational sessions are nothing more than happy hour, prior to the exorbitant fallatio performed by the engineering firms after 5 PM. I'm just speaking from my own experiences as a local zoning board member. Things may have changed in the past 5 years.

    Any effort by citizens to uphold the comprehensive plan will eventually be laughed at by the NY supreme court, unless the opposition offers an appealing political alternative. The airport has likely lobbied every existing or potential politician within the state. You might as well take a long piss into a hurricane if you think there is any chance of using NYS zoning laws in your advantage.
    Most of all I like bulldozers and dirt

  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    6,456
    You make good observational / action statements. It is the goal of the Safe Aviation Coalition of Lancaster to succeed.

    Beyond safety issues, there is quality of life, valuation of property decreasing, and privacy issues. Politics vs people just got started...

    It is the People who will succeed.

  4. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Lancaster, NY
    Posts
    1,713
    All Lancaster residents affected should also have their property taxes "reduced". We can tackle that issue when appraisal letters are received. I am still hopeful the town board does the right thing. This airport is ruining our community in more ways than one.

    On another note, SAC does not have any plans top back down and will take this issue all the way if necessary.

  5. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    6,521
    Quote Originally Posted by nickelcityhomes View Post
    The first mistake is believing that a zoning board is designed to protect your property rights by depriving others the use of the highest and best value of the neighboring land.

    The second mistake is believing that zoning board members do not operate on a purely political basis. These board positions are designed to support the existing town board members, usually providing a bullpen of potential candidates for future local elections. Keep in mind that the members of these boards are appointed by the town board. The elected members of the town board generally won't win election without backing from the local republican/democratic committee. Appointing a non-partisan zoning/planning board member is a limiting career gesture.

    A comprehensive plan is nothing more than a tool for engineering companies to extract money from taxpayers. Fools gold. Any rookie can circumvent the process with a minimal outlay of cash. Imagine what a financially and politically backed entity such as an airport can do. Go to the next association of towns convention if you don't believe me. Those divine members of the zoning, planning, and town boards don't go there simply for the free airfare and hotel rooms. The informational sessions are nothing more than happy hour, prior to the exorbitant fallatio performed by the engineering firms after 5 PM. I'm just speaking from my own experiences as a local zoning board member. Things may have changed in the past 5 years.

    Any effort by citizens to uphold the comprehensive plan will eventually be laughed at by the NY supreme court, unless the opposition offers an appealing political alternative. The airport has likely lobbied every existing or potential politician within the state. You might as well take a long piss into a hurricane if you think there is any chance of using NYS zoning laws in your advantage.
    Unfortunately, too true. Well said!

  6. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    10,753

    Wink Who's on the ZBA ???????? - youd be surprised!!!!!!

    Excellent statement just look at who is on the ZBA - then tell me why anyone of them would feel compelled to do the right thing. The only reason these guys would go against(figuratively speaking) the Town Board vote - would be to actually protect the Board.

    Look at it this way - Giza and company knows what they did and how they did it was wrong. They've played this game many, many times. If they feel the "Legal" backlash could actually affect them - they will allow one of their puppet boards to shoot it down.

    Like "Pilot" washing his hands. They already made their show of support for their contributer/air strip friend. Now if they have to, they bail out - grandstand and say, "we decided to act on behalf of the Town"

    Working mans translation= The lawyers said we got caught and we are to close to having "Personal responsibility" so we played CYA"

    Quote Originally Posted by nickelcityhomes View Post
    The first mistake is believing that a zoning board is designed to protect your property rights by depriving others the use of the highest and best value of the neighboring land.

    The second mistake is believing that zoning board members do not operate on a purely political basis. These board positions are designed to support the existing town board members, usually providing a bullpen of potential candidates for future local elections. Keep in mind that the members of these boards are appointed by the town board. The elected members of the town board generally won't win election without backing from the local republican/democratic committee. Appointing a non-partisan zoning/planning board member is a limiting career gesture.

    A comprehensive plan is nothing more than a tool for engineering companies to extract money from taxpayers. Fools gold. Any rookie can circumvent the process with a minimal outlay of cash. Imagine what a financially and politically backed entity such as an airport can do. Go to the next association of towns convention if you don't believe me. Those divine members of the zoning, planning, and town boards don't go there simply for the free airfare and hotel rooms. The informational sessions are nothing more than happy hour, prior to the exorbitant fallatio performed by the engineering firms after 5 PM. I'm just speaking from my own experiences as a local zoning board member. Things may have changed in the past 5 years.

    Any effort by citizens to uphold the comprehensive plan will eventually be laughed at by the NY supreme court, unless the opposition offers an appealing political alternative. The airport has likely lobbied every existing or potential politician within the state. You might as well take a long piss into a hurricane if you think there is any chance of using NYS zoning laws in your advantage.
    #Dems play musical chairs + patronage and nepotism = entitlement !

  7. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    234

    It is sad that

    Quote Originally Posted by shortstuff View Post
    Lancaster Town Zoning Board asked to determine legality of Lancaster-Buffalo Airport expansion
    By Safe Aviation Coalition of Lancaster
    Feb 18, 2010, 16:59

    A group of Lancaster residents, the Safe Aviation Coalition of Lancaster [SACL], has filed an appeal to the Town of Lancaster’s Zoning Board of Appeals [ZBA], asking the board to determine whether the extensive expansion of the Buffalo-Lancaster Airport is legal under the town’s zoning laws. A similar request, made on December 18, 2009 to the Town’s Code Enforcement Officer, Jeffrey H. Simme, has not been responded to by either Mr. Simme, or the Town Attorney, John Dudziak, Esq.,

    The Buffalo-Lancaster Airport is a private airport located at 4343 Walden Avenue, east of Pavement Road. The members of SACL, who are largely concentrated to the south of the airport, have concerns regarding the noise, safety and privacy issues associated with the facility’s operations. It is their contention that the Lancaster Town Board and Code Enforcement Officer have repeatedly violated the town’s zoning ordinance by allowing the airport to substantially expand its size, capacity and functions. SACL’s attorney, Arthur J. Giacalone of East Aurora, NY, provides the following explanation of his clients’ claims:

    Neither the current Town of Lancaster zoning ordinance, nor the zoning code in effect when the airport began its operations in the mid-1960’s, allows construction and operation of an airport or airstrip. The facility is, at best, a “non-conforming use.” Under the town’s zoning laws, a non-conforming use may not expand by more than twenty-five percent (25%) or extend beyond the lot occupied by it at the time it became a non-conforming use. In 1989, when the town’s current zoning law was enacted, the airport occupied approximately 25 acres of land, had a runway about 1,900’ long and 25’ wide, and included a hangar large enough to store 10 airplanes. By 2006, the airport covered 94 acres, its runway had been enlarged to 3,200’ by 75’, and it had three hangars with the capacity to house 44 planes. In 2007, the Town Board and Federal Aviation Administration approved plans that would allow the airport to expand to 143.1 acres [570% larger than its size in 1989], extend its runway to 5,500’ [110% longer than its 1995 length], and substantially increase the number and size of aircraft housed on site.

    Despite the fact that the airport’s consultants have reminded Town of Lancaster officials that the airport and surrounding area is not zoned for use as an airport, the town officials have repeatedly approved proposed expansions, and have expressed support for large, taxpayer-funded projects. Additionally, although the Lancaster Industrial Development Agency is required by its enabling statute to take into consideration local zoning laws when considering financial aid requests, it has approved multiple Buffalo-Lancaster Airport applications for real property and sales tax exemptions.

    At no time have the zoning laws of the Town of Lancaster been enforced. At no time have the rights and concerns of the residents living near the airport, or under the flight paths of the airplanes that utilize the Walden Ave. facility, been taken into consideration or protected.

    Comments?
    It is sad that Lancaster residents have to put so much time, effort, and money into pushing the Town to do the right thing regarding the airport, as well as other bad decisions. The Town Board was elected to protect the residents (including subsets that are directly affected by particular regional issues), and look out for their interests, not to put them in a position where they have to do so much damage control on their own. It is not that every decision the TB makes is a bad one, they deserve credit for their good decisions as well as strong criticism for their bad ones. It is the TB's responsibility to recognize (or at least admit it when the residents point it out) when they have made a bad decision and then to do all that they can to block futher damage, as well as to reverse as much existing damage as possible. This is the case with the airport issue---it has become very obvious to most informed people that this was a very bad decision by the TB. As I have mentioned in other posts on Speakup, the ability to recognize/admit a mistake and then do all that one can to rectify it is the hallmark of a good leader----hopefully we have some in Lancaster.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Paladino Gives Buffalo School Board an Education
    By Mikebuf320 in forum Buffalo NY Politics
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: October 14th, 2009, 10:59 PM
  2. Read through the Town Board spin
    By 4248 in forum Village of Lancaster and Town of Lancaster Politics
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: August 17th, 2009, 12:05 PM
  3. Student addresses Lancaster Town Board
    By Lee Chowaniec in forum Village of Lancaster and Town of Lancaster Politics
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: March 8th, 2009, 06:24 PM
  4. Americorps off the hook?
    By GhostofCharles in forum West Seneca Politics
    Replies: 399
    Last Post: November 16th, 2008, 08:50 PM

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •