Lysander, N.Y. — Neighbors who oppose a proposed huge auto parts warehouse in Lysander have scored a big court victory over the project.
Town officials acknowledged this week they did not follow proper legal procedures when they changed the town’s zoning law in February to permit United Auto Supply to build a 1-million-square-foot warehouse at the northeast corner of Route 690 and Hencle Boulevard in Lysander, just north of the village of Baldwinsville.
As a result, the company submitted plans for a much smaller 360,000-square-foot warehouse on Wednesday.
It is unclear whether the company will seek to expand the building in later phases if the town, this time following proper procedures, makes the zoning change again. United Auto Supply has said from the start that it planned to build the warehouse in phases.
The zoning change allowed developers to build on up to 50%, rather than 30%, of an industrially zoned lot.
A group calling itself Citizens Against Lysander Mega‐Warehouse sued the town in state Supreme Court June 21, alleging the town council failed to follow proper procedures when it made the change. Among other things, the group said the council failed to send the change to the town or Onondaga County planning boards for review.
The group contends the project is too big for the area and will cause traffic problems.
“As a direct result of the lawsuit and significant public pressure, the town has agreed to stipulate that the enactment of the amendment to the zoning law was improper and that they would consider it null and void, thereby rendering that the previous application to the planning board would exceed the lot coverage limitations,” the group said in a statement Thursday.
Town Supervisor Robert Wicks said the town consulted with its attorneys after the lawsuit was filed and “discovered some usual protocols weren’t followed,” including sending the matter to the town and county planning boards for their review.
“We can’t argue that,” he said. “If it wasn’t done, it wasn’t done. I’m not going to spend taxpayer dollars on something that we pretty clearly did not follow. If you didn’t follow protocols, whether it was one or 10, you can’t move forward.”
For now, the zoning law has reverted back to limiting industrial developments to cover up to 30% of a lot, he said.
Wicks said it was possible the town council will attempt to change the zoning law again to permit 50% lot coverage. Before it does, however, it will make sure proper procedures are followed, he said. He said he still supports the warehouse development for the jobs and tax dollars it would bring to the town.
United Auto Supply has said the project would create up to 500 jobs.
Asked why the council did not follow proper procedures when it made the zoning change in February, Wicks said, “I don’t want to throw anybody under the bus.”
“Just suffice it to say we didn’t follow the protocols,” he said.