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CROWD QUERIES PRESBYTERIAN HOMES BUILDING PLANS

A standing-room-only and, at times, hostile crowd peppered the Aurora Town Board with questions Monday night about a proposal from Presbyterian Homes of Western New York to build up to 219 homes and apartments on about 70 acres on Mill Road.

Three phases would be completed probably during a 10-year period, with the final phase including a 40-bed nursing facility with a "dementia center." Also included in the plan are corporate offices, a coin-operated laundry, a small store, community outreach center and adult day-care center.

"The commercial aspects of the proposal are offensive to me," Mill Road resident Chuck Basil told the board. Supervisor William Green said the $22 million development would be privately funded but would receive tax incentives.

What concerned most residents was "a lack of definition" and "obvious confusion" in the plan, according to Timothy Finan, a member of SEARCH (Save East Aurora's Residential and Cultural Heritage).

David Saunders, chief executive officer of Presbyterian Homes, said another public meeting would be held on the proposal, but he refused to specify a date.

"The developer is unable to articulate the proposal," said Finan, who called the public hearing a sham. That observation was met with applause.

Green took issue with Finan's characterization of the hearing as a sham, saying Presbyterian people have been "honorable" from the onset.

"They've made every attempt to be up front," Green said.

"Every time I come here, the game plan changes," said John Kelly, a Mill Road resident and village employee.

Green conceded that the number of units has increased, and he assured Kelly that property values of surrounding homes have been taken into consideration.

SEARCH founder Arthur Giacalone said 40 acres of vegetation must be removed for the project, and 92 percent of the land will need drainage improvements before construction.

Also at issue is another proposed entrance to the development from 815 Center St. That entrance would be in addition to ones already planned on Sweet Road and on Mill Road.

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