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Hamburg Town Board looking for expert to review asphalt plant studies

Mike Desmond

Hamburg's Planning Board pushed off a decision on a controversial asphalt plant Wednesday night, saying it is looking for an expert to review studies submitted by the plant.

The proposed asphalt plant, planned for a working concrete plant site on the edge of Camp Road, has been very controversial. It has become mixed into the county executive election and has filled social media as the Planning Board looks at the initial application and followup studies from AL Asphalt.

Ashalt plant lawyer Corey Auerbach said there are problems, because there is so much bad information out there.

"There has been a pattern and a lot of misinformation that has been disseminated that simply is not factual," Auerbach said. "I think there is a lot of fear of the unknown and even some hysteria about what's being proposed. When you look at the facts and you separate the fear from the facts, I think that the expert studies will demonstrate that the fears that we are hearing from the community are unfounded."

Since the land is zoned for exactly this kind of plant, to reject the proposal, the Planning Board would have to find a solid reason, like evidence the asphalt production would lead to off-site air pollution. The studies do not show that, according to Auerbach.

"We think there has been a pattern of delay to date," he said. "As was discussed this evening, it's unusual for 120 days to elapse from the time an application is submitted until the action is classified and, again, we believe that any additional expert analysis will simply validate the reports and studies that we have already prepared and submitted."

Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO News
Hamburg Town Board members got a bit heated with each other, as well.

Hamburg Planning Board Chair Bill Clark said he is reaching out to find a consultant who can come in, look at the evidence and report to the board. He is also asking the Town Board to pay for the consultant. Clark said the matter likely to show up at the Oct. 16 board meeting, but a new study likely willl not be done by then.

"I don't think we'd be able to do it in a month. We might be able to," Clark said. "I've contacted a few people that might be capable of doing it. I'm really early in that process. I'd don't think I would have a study in a month."

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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