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Town to set design standards for businesses, landscaping

Published on June 8, 2007
Author:    Emma D. Sapong - NEWS STAFF REPORTER
The Buffalo News Inc.

Grand Island is reviewing its building design and performance standards with the goal of creating central architectural and landscaping themes for its businesses.

While in the process, it also will create two new business districts. The Town Board will vote June 18 on the proposed changes.

"If the new standards are adopted, you won't get anything that looks like a strip plaza," said Supervisor Peter A. McMahon. "What we are attempting to do is make commercial development along Grand Island Boulevard be more attractive to the people who visit and the people who live on the island." The effort is part of the 10-year review of the town's 1995 master plan. During the process, town officials realized the plan didn't discourage "franchise architecture," which is defined as buildings without a common theme prescribed by the town.

"It will allow common tree planting, sign style and buildings design," McMahon said. "What we have now is no theme. You have a gas station that's green, another red. There's no consistency, nothing that ties it all together."

Last year, the Long Range Planning Committee was reconvened to address the problem and review the entire plan.

Frank Burkhart, a town resident and vice chairman of the committee, said the changes proposed should give the town a more village-like feel. The changes include brick as the preferred building material, parking in the back or along the side of businesses and a tree-lined Grand Island Boulevard.

Burkhart said the committee is also looking to create two new business districts -- south and north of Town Hall. When the master plan was done in 1995, it focused only on businesses in the Town Center. The town looked at East Aurora and Lewiston as examples.

McMahon said the proposed changes have to do with the appearance of businesses and not land use.

"There is no change in land use," McMahon added.