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DECISION NEAR ON EXTENDING YOUNGS ROAD

If Amherst decides to extend Youngs Road, the new portion would run right through Michael E. Delamere's kitchen.

Three years ago, that prospect upset him.

Then he grew excited about leaving once he and his family started looking for a new place to live.

Today, Delamere says he is just tired of waiting.

"My family has been on an emotional roller-coaster ride," said Delamere, 49, a plant engineer at Delphi Harrison Thermal Systems in Lockport.

Since March 1995, Town Board members have delayed deciding whether to approve plans to extend Youngs from Casey to North French roads.

"After three years, almost to the day, my family is no closer to knowing if or when we will be forced to leave. We just want to know one way or another so we can make our decisions," said Delamere, of Dodge Road in East Amherst.

The decision could come within the next few weeks, town officials say.

Amherst Planning Director Charles O. Brown told Town Board members he would like to know how they feel about the project before his staff starts preparing environmental paperwork on the project.

Board members appear split on the issue.

Council Members Michael G. McGuire, a Democrat, and Jane S. Woodward, a Republican, support the $3.5 million project to extend the road about three-quarters of a mile through wetlands.

Board members Peggy G. Santillo and Daniel J. Ward, both Democrats, and William L. Kindel, a Republican, say they oppose the project.

Council Member James P. Hayes, a Republican, said he is leaning against the project.

Supervisor Susan J. Grelick said she is undecided about whether to approve the road-extension project but said the town should buy the property.

"We have to give those property owners relief," Ms. Grelick said. "I'm concerned about where we'll find the money for the project. But if we buy the land, we can preserve that corridor and keep the option open for later."

The Town Board has three choices:

*Do nothing. By abandoning the project, the traffic will continue to increase on Hopkins, Casey, Dodge, North French, Transit and New roads, according to town planners.

The town already has spent $300,000 -- not including staff time -- on the project.

*Buy the property but delay road construction.

The traffic would continue to build on the roads, but the highway corridor is preserved. The estimated land acquisition cost is $900,000.

*Build the road.

Once the extension is completed, the traffic on surrounding roads such as Hopkins, Casey, Dodge and North French would decline while traffic on New Road would increase.

The extension would be finished in fall 1999.

The cost of the project would be $3.5 million.

Extending Youngs Road would take north-south commuter pressure off Hopkins Road in the eastern half of Amherst and, to a lesser extent, North Forest Road.

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