Athenex site plan approved by board

OBSERVER Photo by Jimmy McCarthy The Dunkirk Town Board unanimously approves the site plan for the FDA and state licensed Athenex biopharmaceutical plant at Thursday’s special meeting at the town hall. With the site plan approved, dirt can be moved at Athenex’s home at 3805 Lake Shore Drive E. in the town.

Following no public comment, the site plan for the biopharmaceutical company Athenex garnered the Dunkirk Town Board’s approval during a Thursday special meeting.

With site plans approved, dirt can move at 3805 Lake Shore Drive E. — the home of the FDA- and state-licensed biopharmaceutical plant. Construction, however, won’t commence until a building permit is issued. That means Athenex will need to provide engineering, construction and building plans in order to proceed with the actual building of the 320,000-square-foot facility.

The plan as approved by board members came with conditions that the town’s planning board established in its Feb. 24 referral. Permits need to be obtained from the city of Dunkirk for water and sewer connections. In addition, Athenex still needs to obtain secure entrance and utility permits from the state Department of Transportation while garnering the necessary approvals from the state and county health departments.

The planning board also requested Athenex resubmit a landscaping plan to reflect a buffer and more privacy for homeowners to the north of the building. Town Supervisor Richard Purol said the latest plan shows trees, bushes and foliage.

“At the planning board meeting, you heard (Rich) Nassar say he would personally walk the neighborhood with neighbors if they so desired to make sure everything is taken care of,” Purol said. “They want to be good neighbors.”

OBSERVER Photo by Jimmy McCarthy Following approval of Athenex’s site plan, Robert Penharlow, board member, credits the work of the town’s planning board throughout the way.

A state environmental quality review assessment was conducted with Empire State Development as the lead agent. Purol stated within the site plan resolution that a negative declaration was issued, which means there are no significant adverse impacts with the plan set forth. A height and parking lot variance were previously approved by the town’s zoning board.

Following site plan approval, Robert Penharlow, board member, gave thanks to the planning board for their work on the project.

“They spent a lot of time away from their jobs and families. I know the board appreciates it,” Penharlow said. “(They’re) kind of in the background, but (they’re) the heart of the thing.”

With all members working together, board member Juan Pagan said the project is a step closer in coming to fruition.

“All of us have done a fine job in making sure they move forward and that we’re not a stumbling block,” Pagan said.

According to Purol, Athenex wants to move dirt March 15. As for a weather-tight building by the end of 2018, Purol said things need to move fast.

“There’s a lot more that they have to do. We’ll see. I hope everything goes well for them,” he said.

M+W US, Inc, a Germany-based construction engineering company, is working on procurement and lead engineering services for the project while The Pike Co., based out of Rochester, is conducting all the buyout for the civil, structural and architectural portions.