Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — A downtown ice arena is one step closer to reality.
The city Zoning Board of Appeals approved four variances Tuesday for the proposed Lockport Ice Arena & Sports Complex. The 75,000 square-foot arena is expected to be built at 34 Chestnut St., where the existing building, which last housed a supermarket, is to be demolished.
The arena will have two ice pads and include retail, office and restaurant space. There’s a tentative opening date for fall of 2014.
Board members voted unanimously for variances that would reduce the number of required parking spaces to 82 and reduce the amount of required landscaping to 2 percent of the size of the lot. Typically, projects are required to have 16,000 square feet of green space.
The other variances approved by the zoning board were for use and another allowing for a structure within a 30 foot triangle of an intersection. That would allow for a display, monument or statue.
R. Charles Bell, the city planning and development director, said the way the site is laid out, a structure wouldn’t impede a driver’s view when pulling out of the proposed arena lot.
Board members expressed support of the ice arena.
“This is a game changer,” said board member Allan Jack. “I’m undoubtedly behind it.”
Doug Hammond, who owns The Warehouse shop next to the proposed arena site, aired a few concerns Tuesday about the impact of the arena on parking for businesses nearby.
But he too expressed support in building the arena.
“I’m 100 percent for this,” he said. “I think it’s going to be a shot in the arm for Lockport.”
Next, the ice arena plan will go before the Niagara County Planning Board on Aug. 19. The project also needs city planning board approval, but there’s a chance it won’t make the agenda for the board’s next meeting on Aug. 5 because of time restraints.
”There’s still some work to do,” Bell said. “We might have to wait until September.”Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241, or follow him on Twitter @joeolenick.