Grand Island town leaders hosted a public meeting for the first time since receiving an application for developers to build a major e-commerce storage and distribution facility on the island.
“It’s a big deal,” said resident Diane Whitmore.
Dozens packed into town hall Monday night as lawyers representing TC Buffalo Development officially introduced the project they’re proposing to build at 2780 Long Road.
“It’s an exciting project that sends a statement about the economic vitality of Grand Island,” said Kim Mason of Phillips Lytle LLP.
TC Buffalo wants to construct a five-story, 3.8 million square foot e-commerce storage and distribution facility for consumer products to be operated by a confidential tenant.
Former Town Supervisor Nate McMurray says the tenant is Amazon.
During Monday’s meeting, TC Buffalo’s legal team said they’re keeping tight-lipped about who the tenant is, but people at the meeting said it’s no secret.
“This is a big thing, I mean Amazon is a huge company. I’m not sure I want them in my backyard,” Whitmore said.
Grand Island resident Nancy LaChiusa held up a sign in the meeting showing her opposition to Amazon potentially developing on the island.
“I think there’s a lot of vacant industrial land in Niagara Falls that would be better suited for their purposes rather than be on the island that has bridges that get closed down, that get backed up. It just doesn’t make sense,” LaChiusa said.
After project representatives completed their presentation, town leaders gave their opinions, suggesting developers look at how the project would impact traffic.
“The bigger issue for most of the people here is when they’re trying to get home, trying to get to work in the morning,” said Grand Island Town Councilman Tom Digati. “We’ve got it bad enough already.”
Town Supervisor John Whitney said they’ll be looking at several factors when they consider this application.
“We’re going to look at water usage, wastewater developments, storm water increases, that sort of thing and retain consultants that the developer will actually pay for,” Whitney said. “The town will not be paying for those reviews. Our own consultants will be doing an independent review at their expense.”
Even though the review process is still in its early stages, people on the island are already making it clear what they want in their community.
“I don’t want to see it overdeveloped,” said Marcia Whittle.