• James Hartz, AICP

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  •  Director of Community Development
  • phone icon (716) 871-8847
  • fax icon (716) 831-8857
  • email icon Email
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Welcome to the Department of Planning and Development!

Our mission is to help improve the quality of our neighborhoods through best practices in urban planning and the effective administration of U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs.  This includes our Residential Rehabilitation Program and our First Time Homebuyer Program for income-qualified households as well as our Micro-Enterprise Loan Program for small businesses.

The Office of Planning and Development administers several local initiatives that provide decent housing, sound infrastructure investment, economic opportunities, and many public services that improve the quality of our neighborhoods.

We are in the process of implementing several long-term planning objectives outlined in the Town's Comprehensive Plan including a comprehensive zoning law update, neighborhood revitalization plans, clean up efforts along River Road, and several public infrastructure investments.

Please take some time to learn more about us and how to share your views on the future of the Town of Tonawanda.


  • We administer three U.S. Housing and Urban Development Funding Programs including the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) which funds our Residential Rehabilitation Program, Micro-Enterprise Loan Program, and various public infrastructure and public service projects; the HOME Investment Partnership Act Grant (HOME) which funds our Residential Rehabilitation Program and First Time Homebuyer Program; and the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) which funds sub-recipient agencies to provide shelter, homelessness prevention, and rapid rehousing services. Click the Programs button to learn more.


  • We are the preparers, keepers, and implementers of various townwide and neighborhood plans including the Town’s Comprehensive Plan, Complete Streets Initiative, Old Town Neighborhood Plan, Sheridan Parkside Neighborhood Plan, Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP), Tonawanda Tomorrow, and the Tonawanda Opportunity Area Draft GEIS and Final Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) Nomination Plan. Click the Plans button to learn more.


  • The Town’s Zoning ordinance, set forth in Chapter 215 of the Town Code, regulates how real property in the Town can and cannot be used in certain geographic areas. Originally adopted in 1982, the Zoning ordinance has underwent various amendments in recent years. The Town is currently undergoing a comprehensive zoning law update at the recommendation of our Comprehensive Plan. Click the Zoning button to learn more.


  • Maps are essential components of most town departments, including zoning, property and asset management and inventory. These maps are used every day, and are maintained in a coordinated effort by all departments. Our GIS data sets include utilities, roads, buildings, property and records. Click the Interactive Maps button to learn more. Once at the site, click on the Tonawanda Map Gallery to view the various maps.


Public Meeting Announcements 

pdf CDBG, HOME, ESG Public Meeting Notice 10/21/21


For Public Review

pdf Draft New York Statewide PA for HUD Programs pdf


Helpful Forms & Documents

Below are helpful forms and documents related to our most popular plans, applications, permits, and funding programs.


Planning & Development FAQ's

Residential Rehabilitation Program - 0% Interest, Deferred Payment Loan Program

Low to moderate income homeowners in the Town of Tonawanda are eligible for the 0% interest, deferred payment loan program. This loan program provides qualified applicants with funding for needed housing repairs. Eligible work items include things such as your foundation wall, roof, siding, windows, heating system, and electrical system. The program may not be used for room additions or luxury items. The loan is secured on the property through a mortgage filed in the Erie County Clerk's Office. The loan does not have to be paid back until the homeowner passes away, property title transfers (house is sold or people are added/removed from deed), homeowner obtains a home equity loan or line of credit, homeowner refinances their mortgage for additional amount or if it ceases to be the homeowners’ principal residence. The Town of Tonawanda does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, marital status, disability, military status, the presence of children, sexual orientation, source of income, gender identification, or immigration and citizenship status in determining admission to the housing programs we administer. 

For More Information & Details

Resident homeowners in the Town of Tonawanda, outside of the Village of Kenmore, who wish to participate in the 0% Interest, Deferred Payment Loan Program or would like further information should call DeAnna Mancuso at (716) 871-8847 ext. 4 or send an Email. For more information about the program, click here:   pdf Residential Rehabilitation Flyer 2020

First Time Homebuyer Program - 0% Interest, Deferred Payment Loan Program

The Town of Tonawanda, through the HOME Investment Partnership Program, is offering loans for first-time homebuyers with qualifying incomes to cover most closing costs associated with the purchase of their first home in the Town of Tonawanda (including the Village of Kenmore). These are long-term, deferred payment, interest-free loans. You need not make any payments toward the loan until your home is sold, transferred in title, refinanced mortgage while adding additional debt, obtain a home equity loan or line of credit, if the owner dies, or if the owners ceases to occupy the property as their principal residence.

For More Information & Details

For more information on the program please review the pdf First-Time Homeowner Fact Sheet.  If you have any questions, please contact Ms. Kailee Van Brunt, Community Development Coordinator, at (716) 871-8847 ext. 2 or by email.

Email or call James Hartz, Director of Community Development at 871-8847, ext. 1. Jim or his staff will provide you the necessary application forms and guide you through the review process.

Small Business (Micro-Enterprise) Loan Program

Small business owners in the Town of Tonawanda (including the Village of Kenmore) may qualify for a low-interest business loan for the establishment, stabilization, or expansion of the business. Funds may be used for any justifiable business purpose including, but not limited to fixed assets, current assets including inventory and receivables, working capital, and refinancing of existing debt.

For More Information & Details

For more information on the program please review the Small Business Loan Program   pdf Fact Sheet . If you have any questions, please contact Mr. James Hartz, Director of Community Development, at (716) 871-8847 ext. 1 or by email.

Useful Links of Interest

Planning & Development Resources

About your right to Fair Housing Choice
The Town of Tonawanda strives to advocate for fair housing choice for all people looking to reside within the Town. Your right to choose a home or apartment wherever you want is protected under federal, state, and county laws. It is illegal for a landlord to discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, family status, age, military status, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, source of income, gender identification, or immigration and citizenship status. For complete information on all of your housing rights you may visit the U.S. HUD, the NYS Division of Human Rights, and the Erie County websites.

How to file a discrimination case
If you feel that you may have been discriminated against in your search for a housing unit, then you may file a discrimination case with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the New York State Division of Human Rights. Information on how to file a case can be found here:  File a Case

More information and advocacy
For more information review the Town’s Fair Housing Plan. If you need assistance in filing your complaint with U.S. HUD, you may contact the Town's Fair Housing Officer, James D. Hartz, AICP, Director of Community Development at (716) 871-8847 ext.1 or you may contact our local fair housing advocacy organization at H.O.M.E.

First Time Homebuyer Program - 0% Interest, Deferred Payment Loan Program

The Town of Tonawanda, through the HOME Investment Partnership Program, is offering loans for first-time homebuyers with qualifying incomes to cover most closing costs associated with the purchase of their first home in the Town of Tonawanda (including the Village of Kenmore). These are long-term, deferred payment, interest-free loans. You need not make any payments toward the loan until your home is sold, transferred in title, refinanced mortgage while adding additional debt, obtain a home equity loan or line of credit, if the owner dies, or if the owners ceases to occupy the property as their principal residence.

For More Information & Details

For more information on the program please review the pdf First-Time Homeowner Fact Sheet  If you have any questions, please contact Ms. Kailee Van Brunt, Community Development Coordinator, at (716) 871-8847 ext. 2 or by email.

Comprehensive Housing Counseling

Residents of the Town of Tonawanda and Village of Kenmore have the services of one of the area's finest housing counseling agencies, Belmont Housing Resources of Western New York.

If you need housing counseling and your housing issues are:

  • Budgeting
  • Debt / credit issues
  • Disputes between you and your landlord
  • Fair housing
  • Mortgage default
  • Pre-purchase or post-purchase counseling
  • Rent delinquency

then contact Belmont Housing Counselor  at

2393 Main Street
Buffalo, NY 14214
Phone: (716) 884-7791

Residential Rehabilitation Program - 0% Interest, Deferred Payment Loan Program

Low to moderate income homeowners in the Town of Tonawanda are eligible for the 0% interest, deferred payment loan program. This loan program provides qualified applicants with funding for needed housing repairs. Eligible work items include things such as your foundation wall, roof, siding, windows, heating system, and electrical system. The program may not be used for room additions or luxury items. The loan is secured on the property through a mortgage filed in the Erie County Clerk's Office. The loan does not have to be paid back until the homeowner passes away, property title transfers (house is sold or people are added/removed from deed), homeowner obtains a home equity loan or line of credit, homeowner refinances their mortgage for additional amount or if it ceases to be the homeowners’ principal residence. The Town of Tonawanda does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, marital status, disability, military status, the presence of children, sexual orientation, source of income, gender identification, or immigration and citizenship status in determining admission to the housing programs we administer. 

For More Information & Details

Resident homeowners in the Town of Tonawanda, outside of the Village of Kenmore, who wish to participate in the 0% Interest, Deferred Payment Loan Program or would like further information should call Dawn Lisowski at (716) 871-8847 ext. 4 or send an This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For more information about the program, click here:   pdf Residential Rehabilitation Flyer 2020 . For a printable flyer click here: pdf 2020 Town of Tonawanda Home Repair Program

About the Weatherization Program
The Town of Tonawanda uses its Community Development funds to contract with Supportive Services Corporation of Western New York to operate a free weatherization program for Town and Village residents. The weatherization program is open to homeowners and tenants with limited or fixed incomes. To qualify, incomes may not exceed the following limits for family size:
 

Family SizeMonthly IncomeYearly Income
1 $2,610 $31,318
2 $3,413 $40,954
3 $4,216 $50,590
4 $5,019 $60,226
5 $5,822 $69,862
6 $6,625 $79,498

* Income Limits are updated periodically.  For the latest information, please call Supportive Services.

Weatherization Improvements
The Weatherization Program Energy Auditors from Supportive Services will conduct a home energy audit on the house or apartment to determine the type of energy improvements each residence will need. Free conservation improvements may include:
 

  • Replacing or repairing inefficient or unsafe boilers and furnaces
  • Insulating exterior walls, ceilings, floors and hot water tanks
  • Replacing or repairing broken windows and poorly fitting doors


Tenants need the approval of their landlords before submitting an application to the program, which will involve work on the landlord's property. Weatherization improvements of up to $6,000 may be made under the program. Professional contractors hired by Supportive Services perform all of the weatherization work, which is inspected and approved in writing by project inspectors.

More Information
Check out the   pdf Weatherization Program Fact Sheet . For more information on eligibility requirements and how to apply for the program, call Supportive Services at (716) 685-6252.