Hostile neighbors and the need for an environmental study have killed plans for 101 apartments, most of them for senior citizens, on Bennett Road near the Appletree Business Park in Cheektowaga.
Clover Construction Management Inc. of Amherst wanted to build one- and two-bedroom units renting for $600 to $700 a month near Cayuga Creek, but was targeted by a 160-signature petition in opposition and a demand by the town for an environmental-impact study last month.
"Everybody says they support senior housing, but go build it in someone else's back yard -- in this business, we see that attitude all the time," Michael S. Jordan, vice president of Clover Construction Management, said Friday.
"Due to the fact that the purchase option for the land will expire, the opposition to the project, the positive environmental (impact) declaration (by the Town Board) and the amount of time it will take to resolve these issues, we are hereby withdrawing the project," Jordan had written in a letter to the town.
Neighbors said there was little to like about the project on Bennett, a two-lane road off Union Road between William Street and Como Park Boulevard.
"The people are mad, angry and frustrated" about continued development in South Cheektowaga, one woman told the Town Board during a meeting last month at which the board ordered Clover to do an environmental study.
The building site next to the Maplewood Health Care Center on Bennett is in the Cayuga Creek flood plain, and neighbors said they worried it would increase the potential for flooding on their properties.
They also expressed concerns about increased traffic on Bennett, which carries a lot of truck traffic from nearby stone quarries, because people as young as 52 could have rented the units. In response to this complaint, Jordan noted his firm had agreed to a minimum age of 62 in 90 percent of the units.
Residents also complained that the vinyl and wood exterior wouldn't measure up in appearance to the brick health-care center next door, and might eventually turn into a "tenement project" that would drive down property values.
They also questioned the effect the development would have on the nearby Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve and on the Native American artifacts discovered along the creek down through the years.
Meanwhile, plans for a 100-unit assisted-living complex for the elderly about a mile away on Cayuga Creek Road remain before Cheektowaga officials, who have called for an environmental-impact study by the developer, Peregrine Development of Syracuse. Unlike the project on Bennett, Peregrine's parcel doesn't need to be rezoned by the town first, officials noted.
The complex on Bennett would have been "very similar" to one recently opened by Clover Construction Management on Orchard Park Road near East & West Road in West Seneca, Jordan said. That 116-unit residence is already 60 to 70 percent leased, he said. Clover plans to start another apartment development on Orchard Place near Ridge Road in Lackawanna this spring, Jordan reported.