Lockport Common Council Faces Pressure from Both Sides on Switzer Moratorium

Town and City residents arrived in droves Wednesday night to engage with a few hot topics, largest among them: The current moratorium pausing development at the Davison Road Complex, (also known as the Switzer Building) on Davison Road. 

LHC Holdings, a subsidiary of Mulvey Construction Inc. based in Lockport, purchased the property about a year ago.  When an initial plan transitioned from residential and multitenant housing to a partnership with Cazenovia Recovery out of Buffalo to build housing specifically for those suffering drug addiction, a moratorium was placed on all construction by the City. 

Representation from both sides of the issue spoke candidly to their feelings regarding this topic.

C.E.O. of Cazenovia Recovery Suzanna Bissionette initiated her public comment with descriptions of renovations that could be performed and some moral indictments on the residents who resist this change,

“This project will renovate vacant buildings in desperate need of repair, it will create jobs.  There is no reason to have a moratorium blocking our application except for fear of people with substance abuse.”

Jim Hagenbach, a 40-year resident living on Grasmere Road, had his response, “This proposal, knowing all the beautiful surrounding residential area, this is really putting a square peg in a round hole.”

Greg Mulvey of Mulvey Construction gave a few remarks, stating, “Frankly, the delays are costing us thousands of dollars.”

Craig Colling, a longtime resident on Chestnut Street had his response for the Developers, and an issue with the word hardship; repeated several times by defenders of the project regarding LHC,

“I am very much against the relief of the moratorium.  I second what is being said about extreme hardship suffered.  Talk about a very relevant term, these are wealthy and seasoned developers.  So, the idea that they are suffering some hardship is a bunch of bolognas.”

Mr. Colling continued, “You’re trying to push something through that people just do not want.”

Additionally, the Town has voted against changing to the areas zoning law to accommodate the type of housing Cazenovia Recovery and LHC Holdings are trying to construct.  The Town and City both share this property, complicating matters even further.

Although Mayor Roman provided no comment at the end of this meeting to an attending reporter, an interview from the Buffalo News echoes her thoughts on where this project started, and where it is now,

“They were talking about apartments for seniors that wanted to downsize and be between two golf courses,” Roman said.

When the Buffalo News reporter asked Mayor Roman in an October publication if she felt misled, Roman responded, “It feels that way.”