Orchard Park temporarily halts parking lot expansions

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) –The Town of Orchard Park is temporarily putting a stop on parking lot expansions.

Wednesday, board members approved a new law that would put a moratorium on parking lots near the Buffalo Bills stadium.

The moratorium means private parking lot owners are not allowed to add more cars on their property or create new parking lots at places that haven’t existed before for one year. It applies to anyone that lives within a one-mile radius of New Era Field.

As more private lots keep popping up in neighborhoods near the stadium, some people say it’s affecting property values, impacting the quality of life and it doesn’t fit with the neighborhood setting.

“You got a business now buying land, taking down houses and he’s using residential parking rules to run his business on which is wrong,” said Bill Young, Orchard Park homeowner.

The Town Supervisor, Patrick Keem, says people have been buying homes, tearing them down and turning them into parking lots.

“It’s not a zoned business district and you don’t want a business or commercial parking lot and that’s what it would become10 days a year in between houses or right next door to your lot,” said Keem.

The owner of the property at 109 Oakwood Avenue recently demolished a foreclosed home. It’s expected to be a parking lot for Bills games, but the moratorium will halt the progress.

“I can’t see a parking lot being this close between two houses and you know you got the rowdy people with the beer drinking and football throwing, they’ll pack the cars in here and I think it’s going to be a mess,” said Young.

Keem says the issue has been building for the last year and after hearing from several residents about the issue, the board wanted to do what the community was asking.

“It gives us time to analyze, research, look into it and then come up with a decision what’s best for the residents, what’s best for neighborhoods, what’s best for the community,” said Keem.

While some support the moratorium, other parking lot owners say it’s unfair to those who have owned private lots for years.

“I don’t think that’s too fair, if they want to expand on their own property they should have a right to,” said Charles Sonntag, parking lot owner.

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