The largest argument of the small group of residents who have claimed a voiced opinion to permit the proposed hot mix asphalt plant at the 5690 Camp Road site argue that the region needs jobs, and that manufacturing jobs can pay well.
The AL Asphalt group stated that they would be creating only six jobs at the last public meeting at Hamburg Town Hall. This is not a number which the company will be held to or required to abide by, but simply their initial projection which could be either optimistic or pessimistic.
While we fully support regional economic development, landowner rights within the letter of the law and also understand that the town has a tax predicament due to vacancies at the McKinley Mall and other vacant commercial spaces, this proposed site will likely cause further detriment to the town tax situation. Further, the small number of jobs created will likely not offset the tax risk.
Here are concerns residents have brought to light at the town board meeting and as part of our petition:
- Many residents have stated that they will request re-assessment if an asphalt plant is present nearby. This study shows that asphalt plants have historically damaged property values as much as 27% which would greatly outweigh any benefit of job creation both to the residents and to the town.
- The current land owner of the proposed lot which the plant is to be located on, Cheektowaga Concrete, LLC, has been shown to be hundreds of thousands of dollars in arrears in current property taxes. This information is based upon what we can find via public record on the internet and may not reflect today’s status, but you can view the data we are referencing by heading to the county property search website and typing the name ‘Cheektowaga Concrete’ in.
To further address the point of six jobs created, it is important to understand the scope of the space.
To our understanding, the plot of the proposed asphalt site and other adjoining plots owned by Cheektowaga Concrete, LLC total upward of if not in excess of 50 acres of land. 50 acres of land with proximity to the population density and median household income of a town like Hamburg, NY is rare and valuable when used appropriately, especially considering egress to thruway transport and other main transportation arteries.
Using this proposed example, factoring instead for 50 acres instead of 250 acres, one would assume that at least 500 jobs instead of the proposed six jobs should be able to created on that same amount of land if it were used for mixed retail and commercial space.
Even when considering the current town moratorium on development of new commercial space, other development opportunities may exist that benefit both residents of the region more and also the economy of the region more by improved values and assessments. For example, this moratorium, to our knowledge, does not consider things like recreational use facilities, hotels and other attractions or housing that could be proposed and have been previously proposed for use on this site.
When comparing this, it is important to remember that land in Hamburg has a high value not only regionally but also nationally due to very strong demographics. When referencing data available at city-data.com and towncharts.com you can see that, as of 2016 and 2017:
- Hamburg has a median household income of $76k
- A growing population
- An average age of resident in the low 40s
These items are key to consider for value of economic development. This is important to reference when you consider that the median household income in Lake County Illinois – the wealthiest county in Illinois – is $78k. Chicagoland has a larger urban population but a similar midwestern, commuter town atmosphere to what exists in Buffalo, and this example is made to show that this land would be considered valuable not only in Buffalo, but in any suburban region of this nature.
Due to these factors, we implore the current site ownership to consider an alternative use for the property. Not only will an alternative use likely create far more jobs, but it will also very likely make the owner of the property far more profit without any concerns of pollution and extreme resistance from the local community. An alternative project will also likely improve the tax base if it is executed properly instead of harming the tax base, especially considering the proposed development of Lake St corridor.
If the owner cannot find it within themselves or their budget to consider an alternative use that will benefit the community, it would likely be in their best interest to find a buyer for the property who will. This would allow the owner to make a profit on their initial land investment while also moving forward with an alternative use under another landowner and developer.