NIAGARA, N.Y. — The Niagara Town Board voted to approve the final site plan and land acquisitions Tuesday night needed for a massive $550 million Amazon facility set to be constructed on Lockport Road.
The project had tax incentives approved by the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency on July 13 and by all indications, the board's decision was expected. That does not mean it satisfied every neighbor.
Several residents expressed concerns about truck traffic, noise, and air pollution, in nearby residential areas.
During the public comment portion of Tuesday's meeting, Robert Taylor, who lives on Packard Road said he is worried about the 500 trucks expected to be going in and out of the warehouse daily.
"You're forcing me to put my home up for sale and pick up my life and start over again... it's really a shame," Taylor said.
"It's obvious that all of you have no regard for the people on Packard Road," he added.
While many of the board members acknowledged that traffic would be impacted, Councilmen Marc Carpenter and Richard Sirianni both said that finding ways to reduce the impact of trucks will be a goal going forward.
"We tried to split this up between Lockport Road and Packard Road. Lockport Road is going to affect me just as much as it's going to affect everyone else. Do I live on Lockport Road no, but I'm on it 18 times a day," said Sirianni.
Carpenter suggested that adding a right-hand turn lane on Porter Road could help with traffic flow. The 3 million square foot ecommerce facility is set to be built adjacent to the Lockport Road and Packard Road intersection just north of the Niagara Falls International Airport.
Amazon representatives have said if the plan comes to fruition, the facility will employ 1,000 full-time workers, 95% of whom will make $15 per hour. The target opening date is sometime in 2024, although the firm managing the project JB2 has asked for flexibility with that timeline sighting supply chain issues on some of their other projects.
No one working on behalf of Amazon would comment following Tuesday's vote by the Town of Niagara Board, although they did attend the meeting.
Town Supervisor Lee Wallace addressed the need for such a project citing the tax revenue of between $800,000 and $1 million. He said without Amazon, the Town of Niagara's financial future would be tested.
"We have to make decisions based on what we think is right for our entire community," Wallace said.
While he did not deny that traffic will be impacted, Wallace added that with $5.5 million set to be spent on road changes in the area to accommodate the project he believes Packard and Lockport roads will be safer in the long run.
"At this point in time this is what I think is right and if people are disgruntled and feel like I don't belong here anymore then I guess that's their right that's the American way, that's democracy."
Several financial aspects including Amazon's P.I.L.O.T. agreement with the county have yet to be negotiated. A public hearing on those topics and others will be held on August 3 at 2 p.m at Niagara Town Hall on behalf of the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency.