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Town to reap funds for trail not being built

It looks like the Town of Orchard Park will be receiving at least $96,400 from the Fox Run retirement development -- for something Fox Run won't be building.

It's a walking trail that was to go through the wetlands on the facility's California Road property.

The United Church Home Society -- the organization behind Fox Run -- wants to drop the trail, and the town is willing to let it. But in lieu of building the trail, Fox Run will be giving the town money for its conservation fund.

Christina Abt of Fox Run confirmed that $96,400 has been offered to the town.

At Wednesday night's Town Board meeting, the site plan change was tabled, with town officials saying the town might be asking for as much as $146,500.

Town officials said the change was made because Fox Run was concerned that it could have insurance problems if residents contracted illnesses such as Lyme disease walking on its own trails.

Abt said the change was made simply "out of concern for our residents."

She said trails will still be put in around the buildings; the trails are on private property, and even the planned wetlands trails wouldn't have been open to the general public.

But because it's departing from the approved site plan, the development will be making a contribution to the town.

Both the Town Board and the Planning Board have accepted the change, but the amount to be donated still has to be worked out.

Councilman David Kaczor said that the area where the trail would have gone is in state wetlands and that the agreement with Fox Run still guarantees the wetland will remain "forever green."

The project -- 180 independent living units, 51 assisted living and 50 skilled nursing units -- has been pursued by the United Church Home Society of Buffalo since 2000.

The first residents are scheduled to move in Nov. 5, with about 50 apartments scheduled to be occupied that first month.

The project has been approved for $80 million in tax-exempt bonds by the Erie County Industrial Development Agency.


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