Removing one more layer of red tape for the multimillion-dollar condominium and retail complex proposed by Benderson Development Co., the Amherst Planning Board has approved the rezoning of a 32-acre plot on Maple Road -- the former site of the Buffalo Shooting Club.
The rezoning recommendation came in a 4-1 vote last week and will be forwarded to the Town Board, despite the opposition of many area residents at a public hearing before the board voted.
"It may be a wonderful, beautiful development," said Richard Berger of Foxcroft Lane, "but the question is what effects it will have on the area around it."
Residents' objections ranged from environmental concerns to the issues of traffic, stoplights, sewage, drainage and the nature of the retailers within the complex.
"This has been passed off as a clever little urban-chic idea. It's not," the Planning Board's dissenter, Debra Norton, said to a round of applause.
Robert Simmons voted in favor of the rezoning despite the fact that he lives directly across Maple Road from the site's proposed eastern truck exit.
Representatives of Benderson Development, which purchased the property last March for $3.1 million, said plans include condominiums, a hotel, a community theater, restaurants, walking space, office space and "upscale" retailers, including a possible grocery store and bookstore.
"This is not a typical garden-variety shopping center," said Eric Recoon of Benderson. "This is a work, live and play environment."
Recoon, along with Benderson lawyers and supporters, welcomed the steps already taken.
"We are very pleased that this project will move forward," he said.
The recommendation specifies that the area be rezoned from "community facilities" to "multi-family residential" and "general business."