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Amherst delays vote on new apartment complex on Niagara Falls Boulevard

The Amherst Planning Board has delayed voting on a mixed-used project of 152 apartments and retail stores proposed for the northwest corner of town because its members want more details about how the development will affect wetlands that mark the property.

The board voted 4-2 to table Rane Management's application at last week's meeting. But Rane President Anthony Cutaia said he will get the board the requested information and the delay won't upend his plans to invest as much as $18 million in the site.

"...We might get some done this year, but really it was a 2018 project," Cutaia said Monday.

Rane Management in March filed plans to construct two, five-story buildings at 3455 Niagara Falls Blvd., just north of Tonawanda Creek Road and next to the former Evergreen Golf Course. The first floor of both buildings would have retail space and parking, while the upper floors would have the apartments.

Cutaia previously said Rane Management plans to invest $15 million to $18 million in the project. As with all of its developments, Rane plans to market the complex to millennials and other prospective tenants who are willing to pay a premium for more services and amenities.

In these apartments, millennials don't even have to change light bulbs

The 10½-acre property is zoned general business, which allows for the mixed-used development. The Planning Board last week reviewed Rane's site plan application and reviewed the environmental impact of the project.

Jeffery Palumbo, an attorney with Barclay Damon who represents Cutaia, said Rane would develop 6.2 acres of the property and leave 4.3 acres as open space.

Palumbo said the state Department of Environmental Conservation has mapped wetlands on the site but has agreed to allow Rane to develop up to 7½ acres of the property. The agency determined the developer must make up for disturbing those wetlands by creating the same amount of wetlands on- or off-site, the attorney said.

Planning Board member Mary Shapiro said she wanted to see Rane's mitigation plan for the wetlands, to know more about whether any rare or endangered species would be affected by the development and to learn whether construction would disturb any culturally significant resources buried at the site. She also questioned the proposed five-story height of the buildings.

"I do have issues with this," Shapiro said.

Palumbo said all of the information Shapiro sought had been filed with the developer's application. "It's all there," he said.

In the end, Planning Board members voted to table for at least another month their review of the project's environmental impact.

Rane will need to provide the board with additional documentation on the wetlands question from the DEC before the project can move forward. Cutaia said Rane also is waiting to hear back from the state Department of Transportation on what the developer needs to do in terms of traffic at the site.

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