HAMBURG, N.Y. (WKBW) — Children held up signs in front of Hamburg town hall Wednesday night that were nearly as big as them, reading "I deserve clean air."
That was the message Hamburg residents shared with their town planning board in the second opposition meeting to the construction of an asphalt plant at Camp Road and Elmview Avenue.
People waited in line, picketed outside town hall, and stood in the hallways with their ears cupped because there was no more space left in the meeting room. Hamburg resident Heather Jackson was at the first meeting and said part of why the second meeting was held was because so many people oppose the plan.
"We knew that there were more people out there who wanted to have their voice heard, wanted to have their questions answered," Jackson said. "So the second meeting was really a push to make sure that the people were here."
People voiced health concerns, like asthma, as well as environmental concerns. Many parents like Jackson worried about the proposed plant's close proximity to the local schools.
"The proposed plant should be within three miles of my child's school and this is important that they know we're not okay with that," said Jackson.
Neighbors were able to hear directly from a lawyer representing the company AL Asphalt Corporation. The representative, Corey Auerbach, told 7 Eyewitness News at the first meeting that building the plant does not go against any rules.
"This is not the what but the how," Auerbach said. "And we feel that by providing documentation, including our fully engineered site plan, we've addressed the issues that are required by the town code."
Erie County Legislator Lynn Dixon (I-Hamburg), who's also running for Erie County Executive, was at the meeting. She said ultimately the decision lies with the planning board, and that even though the plant may be properly zoned, she said there should still be community buy-in.
"I think the number of residents that are here tonight to voice their concern speaks to the fact that they need to do their due diligence," she said.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz wrote a letter to the state saying he has "grave reservations" about the plan, echoing neighbors' concerns about the plant's proximity to schools and senior housing, as well as environmental concerns.
The plan still needs to pass an environmental review.