Town board set to reject  rezoning application

File photoCazenovia is seeking to convert the former Switzer building into a temporary residential facility for up to 44 women seeking treatment for substance abuse, as well as up to 20 of their children.

Cazenovia Recovery Services has hit yet another road-block on its path to develop 360 Davison Road into a residential substance abuse treatment facility and low-income housing complex.

Supervisor Mark Crocker announced Wednesday the Lockport Town Board plans to reject a rezoning application from Cazenovia and LHC Holdings, the Mulvey Construction subsidiary that bought the property from Niagara County last year.

On Aug. 9, Cazenovia and LHC submitted an application to rezone the town's portion of the 17-acre property, which sits on the City of Lockport border, from single-family to multi-unit housing.

Crocker said the board discussed the application at its Nov. 4 work session, and "no (board) member" expressed interest in introducing a resolution for the rezoning.

"We don’t see any reason to change the zoning from R1 to R2 in that area," Crocker said, referring to the zoning districts for single-family and multi-unit housing, respectively. "It’s not related to the project.”

Crocker added Cazenovia's proposal did not come up at all in the town board's Nov. 4 discussion, and invited the provider to review the minutes from the work session.

"If Cazanovia thinks we're making a decision against them, they're wrong," Crocker said. 

Several audience members applauded Crocker's statement. Dozens of residents living near 360 Davison Road have organized against the proposal since it was announced earlier this year, saying it would reduce green space and alter the character of the neighborhood.

"I don't think a big project like Cazenovia wants to do fits with the zoning of single family houses," said Jayette Sinclair, of Rydalmount Road. "We want to keep it a neighborhood of single-family houses."

Cazenovia is seeking to convert the former Switzer building into a temporary residential facility for up to 44 women seeking treatment for substance abuse, as well as up to 20 of their children. The provider is also seeking to develop 65 low-income apartment units, split between existing and new buildings, half of which would be set aside for individuals who have completed treatment for drug or alcohol abuse.

A Cazenovia spokesman said federal law requires municipalities to make zoning decisions that accommodate people with disabilities, "including those with substance use disorders."

"Cazenovia Recovery Systems will continue to move forward with this process in order to meet the unmet needs of people with substance use disorders," spokesman Ed Cichon said in a statement. "In the face of the opioid epidemic, communities should be making care and treatment easier to access. Unfortunately, this decision will only make it more challenging to obtain life-saving services and treatment."

Cazenovia has also experienced a setback in its application to rezone the portion of the property that's located in the city. In September, the city council passed a six-month moratorium on development at 360 Davison Road in order to review the area's zoning and how that conforms to the city's 1998 comprehensive plan. 

Cazenovia filed a waiver in order to have its application considered, and on Nov. 4, the city planning board unanimously recommended the council back the waiver.

Recommended for you