Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz is coming out full bore in support of the proposed Amazon warehouse on Grand Island -- and he can say it is Amazon.
Amazon wants to spend more than $300 million building nearly 4 million square feet of space off Long Road on the island. It was blocked by the town Planning Board and was held out of the Town Board meeting Monday, when developers said the development was "on hold."
The county executive said his office spent more than two years working on what he calls a "project of regional significance." The key to his support is jobs, both inside and spin-offs servicing the facility.
Poloncarz said there is a deal and Grand Island needs to help it along.
"We've worked with them to come up with a pilot agreement that we believe benefits the greater community by bringing in tens of millions of dollars of tax revenue that we might not otherwise have received and would create at least 1,000 jobs with a starting salary of $15 an hour, which is greater than the living wage for a single person in Erie County," he said.
Opponents on Grand Island have two principal objections. One is that it is too high, well above the zoning code. The other is that it is just too big, particularly with the predicted 500 truck trips a day to the facility.
Poloncarz said approval is crucial to keep attracting development interest from major companies like Amazon. Amazon has local fulfillment facilities in Lancaster and the Town of Tonawanda. The county executive said a key interest of Amazon is that the new facility will be close to Canada and not just as a fulfillment warehouse.
Although Grand Island's Planning Board has rejected the project, it could be approved by the Town Board.