infirmary

US&J FILE PHOTO

Cazenovia Recovery pitched a plan to convert the Switzer building on Davison Road, which once housed the Niagara County Department of Social Services, to a residential facility for women recovering from drug and alcohol abuse disorders. The Common Council is now considering a six-month moratorium on development of the site. 

Cazenovia Recovery Systems has hit another obstacle in its effort to bring a residential treatment facility and low-income apartments to a long-vacant property at 360 Davison Road.

The Common Council voted unanimously Wednesday to adopt a six-month moratorium on the property. While the moratorium is in effect, the city will review the zoning for the property and determine whether it conforms to the city's comprehensive plan. 

Attorney Charles Grieco, who represents Cazenovia, said argued the moratorium "singles out" Cazenovia's proposal.

The treatment provider is seeking to develop the former Switzer building into a residential treatment facility for 44 women and up to 20 of their children. Under the proposal, several adjacent buildings and five new buildings would add 65 apartments — mostly one- and two-bedroom units — for low-income residents. Half of the apartments would be filled by individuals who had completed treatment for substance abuse disorder.

Cazenvoia submitted a petition June 28 to rezone the city's portion of the property to allow for multi-unit dwellings.

Grieco also pointed out 5th Ward Alderman Rick Abbott, who sponsored the resolution, has said repeatedly that he believes a large, multi-unit apartment complex is incompatible with the neighborhood. 

"The justification for the moratorium is to update the zoning code, supposedly, or the comprehensive plan. But if you know how you want the property rezoned, there is simply no purpose behind this moratorium, other than to delay this further," Grieco said.

Over half a dozen neighbors addressed the council, raising fears the property would change the neighborhood, increase traffic, reduce green space and strain city services, including water and sewer lines.

"I want our neighborhood to maintain its residential zoning with this green space intact,' said Jayette Sinclair, of Rydalmount Road.

Several speakers said they believed the property should become an entity that pays taxes. Though Cazenovia's proposal would be tax exempt, CEO Suzanne Bissonette said they plan to offer a Payment In Lieu of Taxes agreement, likely between $35,000 and $41,000 annually.

The moratorium is the second setback so far this summer for Cazenovia's proposal.

In July, the Lockport Town Board voted down a proposal to annex its portion of 360 Davison Road into the city. The property sits on the border between the city and town.

That votes means Cazenovia will have to seek approval of both municipalities' planning and zoning boards, as well as the council and Lockport Town Board. Cazenvoia submitted a petition in August to rezone the town's portion to permit multi-unit dwellings.

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