Tonawanda News

The City

March 19, 2014

Zoning board appeals Highland decision

(Continued)

Tonawanda News — The location of the parking lots as well as the number of spots were also not up to code.

The non-profit then filed a variance request, but the zoning board turned it down. In response, People, Inc., filed a legal challenge. The two parties attempted to settle the matter outside the courtroom, but were unsuccessful.

In December, Bannister remanded the case back to the board of appeals and asked them to reconsider. For the second time, the body denied the variance request, citing a variety of concerns.

“This board usually approves variances of 10 to 15 percent. This is a significant request of 41 percent,” Zoning Board of Appeals Chairman Dave Bernosky said at the December meeting of the parking lot size disparity. “The location of the school is in the center of a residential area, and there will be an influx of people, which will change the character of the neighborhood.”

The two parties then met back in Erie County Court, where Bannister granted the variances.

After the judge’s decision was announced, Tonawanda Mayor Rick Davis said he was pleased that the building would be utilized.

“The reuse of any school is really limited,” he said in January. “I hope People, Inc., is going to be a good neighbor to the homeowners who live in the neighborhood, but the last thing we need is a vacant school deteriorating.” 

Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000, ext. 4150, or follow her on Twitter @JessicaLBagley.

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