Residents in Roundtree Village in Hamburg said they were not surprised Wednesday night by another offer by DATO Development to change its plans for apartments bordering their neighborhood.
“Another rabbit comes out of the hat,” said Charlie Cox, of Breckenridge Road. “We’ll deal with it.”
“It” is an offer from developer David Burke that his DATO Development would be willing to replace some apartments with single family homes in its Sherwood Meadows development.
DATO’s attorney, Sean Hopkins, made the offer during a public hearing before the town Planning Board on what had been the latest proposal.
Last year, residents criticized a 128-unit apartment project planned east of Heatherwood Drive for having just one entrance that would put all its traffic on the residential street.
The developer listened and made plans to purchase more land from the former Hopevale campus. He would build another road to connect with Howard Road, as well as add 99 more units and three houses, for a total of 224 apartments and three single family homes along Howard Road. That plan was the subject of Wednesday’s hearing.
Hopkins said Wednesday night Burke was ready to make a “major concession.” He would eliminate the 96 apartment units along the new road, and replace them with 29 single family homes. The developer wants to meet with the attorney for the residents and a representative of the neighborhood before the next Planning Board meeting. If a consensus can be reached, he will amend the project, Hopkins said. Another public hearing would have to be conducted on the new plan.
“I think this really demonstrates Mr. Burke is making an effort, a concerted effort,” he said. “We do hope we can reach a consensus with neighbors.”
If not, Hopkins said, DATO Development will ask the board to approve its site plan.
Drew Reilly, the town’s planning consultant, said the new offer added a layer of confusion to the public hearing. “The public doesn’t know what to comment on,” he said.
But residents did not seem confused. All 12 speakers, including residents and their attorney, spoke against the 224-apartment plan.
They said they still are concerned about the effect on storm water and sanitation sewers and the amount of traffic the development would put on subdivision roads as well as Southwestern Boulevard. The traffic would create congestion, be a danger to the public and damage the already rough pavement in the neighborhood, they said. The increased traffic and apartments would change the character of the neighborhood with single-family homes and affect their quality of life and could lower their property values, they said.
“Roundtree’s character is what attracted us to this neighborhood in the first place,” said Robert Biondi. “It seems like that could be forever lost.”
Steve Ricca, the lawyer for residents, asked the board to issue a “positive declaration” that the project will have an adverse effect on the neighborhood.
The board made no decision and tabled the project until its next meeting.