AL Asphalt Corporation defends controversial Hamburg plant

Company argues they are "harmonious" with Hamburg

Mike Baggerman
September 18, 2019 - 10:50 pm

Proposed site of AL Asphalt Plant on Camp Road in Hamburg. September 2019 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

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HAMBURG, N.Y. (WBEN) - The group behind the proposed asphalt plant on Camp Road in Hamburg refuted much of the public worries about health factors related to odors and emissions from the site at Wednesday’s planning board meeting.

The proposed plant would be placed at 5960 Camp Road at the site of the former Great Lakes Concrete Plant, which closed years ago. While the asphalt plant would sit on 50 acres of land, Corey Auerbach, an attorney from Barclay Damon who represents AL Asphalt Corporation, said the plant itself will only be 160 feet by 200 feet.

“A very small impact in comparison of the remainder of the property,” Auerbach said to reporters after meeting with the board.

MORE: AL Asphalt gives overview of project to Hamburg Planning Board

READ: Hamburg residents oppose AL Asphalt Corporation

The plant was met with opposition from a significant number of people from the Hamburg community, who are worried that the odors and pollutants from the plant could impact their health and wallets. Many argued that its proximity to schools and property will have a negative impact on their lifestyles.

“It shouldn’t happen,” Andy Zalikowski, who lives in the Village of Hamburg, said prior to the meeting. “It seems like a very bad decision to put a plant right next to two schools and a lot of residential area. It doesn’t seem like there’s any benefit to the community and it seems there’s only going to be six jobs. Who knows what kind of pay the job is?”

He also worries about the plant’s impact on property values. Zalikowski plans to file an appeal on his property taxes to see if it can be lowered as a result of the plant. 

Don Brennan, who lives in the Town of Hamburg but drives past the site every day, said that he supports placing residential units there. He also supported the idea of using it again as a concrete processing plant. 

“It looks like it’s going to be a real tug of war to get it to not go in there,” Brennan said about AL Asphalt.

Brennan also worries that the company will not take into account weather factors like wind when determining whether or not the odors will be contained to the site. Auerbach said emissions would be regulated by a DEC air permit and that their tests found that there would be no harmful impacts.

“We’ve provided an odor study that evidences that odors will not be perceptible beyond the property line,” Auerbach said. “We have a noise study that permits the noise will not be above the ambient noise...Traffic study (showed) no potentially significant adverse impacts on traffic.”

Auerbach also described the plant as “harmonious” with the Hamburg community and would not have any impact on property values.

Multiple residents in attendance scoffed at the representative’s comments about the proposed project.

Roseanne DiPizio is a consulting working with AL Asphalt Corporation and declined to comment to reporters though she did speak at Wednesday’s meeting. Bill Doebler, the Managing Director of Orion Environmental Solutions, LLC highlighted many specific elements of the proposed plant during the meeting.

Hamburg Planning Board Chairman Bill Clark said they want to hire their own expert to “hopefully” conduct their own independent study on the asphalt plant. That decision would need to be made by the Hamburg Town Board, who will meet on Monday, though costs will need to be factored into the decision.

“We want somebody to help us understand this process,” Clark said. “We do that routinely. The town’s got engineers that will consult about different drainage issues and things…We don’t make decision until we feel comfortable about what’s going on.”

While AL Asphalt Corporation said they are allowed to be zoned in that spot, Clark said that is not the final consideration that they have.

No vote was taken by the planning board, who tabled AL Asphalt until October 16. Clark said it’s unlikely a vote will take place then.

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