Grand Island Town Board on Monday night gave Fuccillo Automotive
"conceptual approval" for a wetlands replacement plan to
accommodate an expanded car dealership.
The Alvin Road company is looking to build Toyota operations on 2.55 acres of wetlands.
The board's approval gives the company the go-ahead to seek permission for the project through the Army Corps of Engineers, which requires that replacement wetlands be developed at a 3-1 ratio - or 7.56 acres in the case of the Fuccillo proposal.
However, Robert S. Scalione, attorney for Fuccillo, said the company does not have the additional space and proposed developing the new wetlands at the town's Scenic Woods property - a 270-acre parcel of open space.
Scalione said the upgrading work will be done at no cost to the town, and the company will give the town $25,000 toward the cost of an archaeological study that also is required. He added that construction on the dealership is scheduled to begin March 1, and since the board only meets once this month, he needed a decision Monday.
"If I don't get the construction project started (by) March, we won't be able to meet our deadline with Toyota," he said.
Town officials embraced the concept, pointing to the economic benefits of the new dealership and the need to have the Scenic Woods wetlands upgraded.
Town Attorney Peter C. Godfrey drafted a resolution that allows the company to submit a permit application to the Army Corp of Engineers. But Godfrey added: "It's not an actual approval of the project. We think it's fundamentally worthwhile to pursue the project," but the town doesn't have enough information to make a concrete decision.
When the auto company built its first dealership, Fuccillo Chevrolet, in 2001, the building absorbed some of the existing wetlands and 4.6 acres of wetlands had to be developed.
At that time, Scalione said the company told the Corps of Engineers that it had no intention of expanding. But with of the success of the current dealership, the company is looking to open the new Toyota operation by Aug. 1. Scalione said sales projection for the Chevrolet dealership was for 50 cars a month, and currently it is 200.