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CONSULTANTS TO AIR DATA IN FORUMS ON MASTER PLAN

Planning consultants will be pulling out the numbers when they meet with Orchard Park residents this week.

The consultants, who are working with the town, village and school district in Orchard Park, will present some of their findings during meetings Tuesday and Thursday in Orchard Park Middle School. The forums will begin at 6:30 p.m.

The meetings follow two held in June at which residents told planners what they hoped to see happen to their community.

"At this meeting, we're going to have information for people to look at, hopefully to stimulate more conversation about the community and its growth," said Matt Balling of Wendel Duchscherer, the company that has been hired to facilitate creation of a joint master plan for the three entities.

"We have collected population projections, which show significant growth, and residential development data, which shows considerable growth," Balling said.

"What we've seen is that the population in the town and village has stabilized since 1990, but the number of people living in households has declined. So what people have seen around them is a lot of new residential households going up. The question is: How far does the community want that to go?"

Balling said the population data that Wendel Duchscherer is using was supplied by the Greater Buffalo Niagara Transportation Council.

Balling, who is assisting main planner Andrew Reilly with the project, said the numbers have also shown that the increases in student population in the Orchard Park schools are coming mostly from within the town itself, although the district also covers parts of five other towns.

Town Supervisor Toni Cudney, part of the steering committee for the planning process, said she was most concerned simply with getting people out to participate in the process. The two June meetings drew fewer than 100 people each from a township that 1996 census projections placed at 25,000.

"My fear is we'll finish the whole process and people will say, 'I don't like that, and I never knew anything about it or had any input,' " Cudney said. "I'm just looking for more people to show up who haven't been there before so we're getting as representative a portion of the community as possible."

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