Niskayuna Town Board delays vote on Holocaust memorial

View of the site of a proposed Holocaust memorial on Route 7 in Niskayuna. (Marc Schultz)View of the site of a proposed Holocaust memorial on Route 7 in Niskayuna. (Marc Schultz)

NISKAYUNA — The Town Board has agreed to a short-term delay in voting on the controversial Route 7 Holocaust memorial to allow those involved more time to work out their concerns, officials said.

The Town Board held a hearing on the project last week, where an estimated 120 people attended.

Town Supervisor Yasmine Syed and the board said they are postponing the vote for now and hoping to take up the issue again at the board’s May 22 meeting.

They hope the extra time will allow the memorial’s developer, Latham orthodontist Dr. Michael Lozman, to work with the Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York and area residents on issues raised at the public hearing.

“Everyone involved, whether it’s Dr. Lozman, the Jewish Federation or the neighbors and the residents deserve to try to work together to come to a consensus,” Town Board member Denise Murphy McGraw said Thursday evening.

The $1.4 million, two-acre memorial is proposed to be built on the grounds of Holy Redeemer Cemetery on Route 7, also known as the Troy-Schenectady Road.

The project, first submitted in November, won approval from the town Planning Board last month. But some residents have expressed concerns about increased traffic and change to the neighborhood.

If approved, the memorial would include a rail car to remind visitors how Jews and others were transported to death camps during World War II. A dark wall will symbolize a gas chamber. Vegetation would be planted to hide the memorial from the highway.

Among the concerns expressed at the public hearing was a lack communication between the developer and the local Jewish community, as well as changes to the neighborhood.

Neighbor Sheila DiSarro, a vocal opponent of the plan who lives across the street from the proposed site, has argued the memorial will be a constant unpleasant sight and would reduce property values. She could not be reached for comment Thursday evening.

Daniel Hubbell, attorney for Lozman, said the public hearing brought out many good points and concerns. Hubbell said Lozman’s group will use the extra time to address those.

“Coming out of the public hearing we realized that there is more consensus that needs to be built with the Jewish community and we’re working with the federation to do that,” Hubbell said. “Once we feel that consensus is built, we’ll be back before the Town Board.”