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Legos to help envision change in village of Williamsville neighborhood

Residents of a Williamsville neighborhood will be using an unlikely aid Saturday as they plan for changes in the southwest corner of the village.

Legos.

The small plastic construction blocks will be used on a large map to demonstrate the height of potential new buildings envisioned for the area between South Long Street and California Drive.

Natale Development in April purchased the five-acre Herbert F. Darling Inc. construction complex on California Drive, just south of Main Street, with plans to redevelop the property into townhomes and apartments.

The neighborhood includes the village Department of Public Works, a park and railroad museum, and a former railroad line that cut diagonally through the village and is now a bike path.

Village residents and officials see the proposal as an opportunity to work with the developer to create a new vision for the neighborhood of mostly single-family homes.

The workshop Saturday is a planning exercise devised by Mayor Brian J. Kulpa, and a follow-up to a walking tour held late last month.

"The biggest question I got was, 'Well, is everything still moving forward as is?' " said Kulpa, an architect and planner. "No, nothing is moving anywhere. The village is dictating what we want. That's our job. That's what we're going to do."

The mayor said Natale "patiently understands" the development can't move forward yet, and Natale is awaiting suggestions on how the new development can be a good fit for the neighborhood.

"Everything's on the table right now," Kulpa said. "My end goal is to within a six-month period have an amendment to our community plan worked out that we all feel comfortable with and we can adopt into our community plan."

The workshop will be held from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday in Village Hall, 5565 Main St.

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