Planning Board approves new commercial space on chemical plant site

Oct 11, 2017

Buffalo's Green Code and federal law collided before the city Planning Board Tuesday in a dispute over planned commercial space on an old chemical plant site in South Buffalo.

Ontario Specialty Contracting wants to build commercial space in the old chemical plant complex located at 229 Elk Street. On a different part of the same six-acre site, PVS Chemical Solutions makes sulfuric acid.

Lawyer Daniel Roach showed up to protest the plan because his chemical company client is heavily regulated by Homeland Security and the offices and potential public visits threaten anti-terrorism protocols of PVS.

"This change in use will require a complete new assessment of the risks to our facility by Homeland Security," Roach said. "We're just concerned that the general public in there is going to take some offense with our operations, which is a completely legitimate, licensed, authorized, 130-year old operation. But when the typical restaurant-goer or the typical retail customer wouldn't anticipate confronting, that's our concern."

Architect Steve Carmina said what his client does with its property should not be affected by the chemical company's needs. The Planning Board agreed and approved the modified plan, which Carmina estimates will cost $4.2 million and take a year to complete.

One part of Ontario Specialty's buildings was demolished because it was too far gone and that brought the project back to the board.