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COUPLE, TOWN AT ODDS OVER YOUNGS ROAD PLANS

A couple's proposal to develop land for housing is crossing paths with the Town of Amherst's plans to extend Youngs Road.

Stanley and Terri Zionts are asking the town to rezone a 10.35-acre tract of land at 370 Casey Road so they can divide the land into 10 lots, to be sold for housing.

There is a potential problem, though.

The town has recently expressed interest in extending Youngs Road about three-quarters of a mile, from Casey to North French Road, and could need this land for the project. The town, however, has not made a final decision on the issue, and hasn't set any date when it plans to do so.

The Ziontses told members of the town Planning Board on Thursday night that they have owned the land since the 1970s, but were unable to develop it for much of the time because the town's indecision on the Youngs extension made the property unmarketable.

For a while, the Ziontses said, the town was negotiating to buy the land for the proposed Youngs extension. But about three years ago, town officials said they were no longer interested in extending Youngs Road. As recently as January, the Ziontses said, the town said the Youngs Road extension was no longer in the works, and the town wasn't interested in obtaining the property.

Subsequently, the Ziontses decided to sell the land.

If the land is rezoned from suburban agricultural to residential, then it will sell quickly, Terri Zionts told planners.

But the Ziontses said they learned Wednesday that the town is again interested in extending Youngs.

In July, the Town Board voted, 5-2, to borrow as much as $500,000 to buy land for the extension.

It would take another vote, however, to authorize the road project, with an estimated price tag of $3.5 million.

At this time, town officials have no plans to authorize that spending. Supervisor Susan J. Grelick has said the spending doesn't fit into the town's fiscal management plan at this time.

Meanwhile, the Ziontses say they are tired of waiting for the town to decide what it will do with Youngs Road.

But resident George Richmond spoke out against the Ziontses' plans Thursday.

If the town ever extends Youngs, then new housing could hurt those plans, forcing the town to purchase the houses as well as the property, Richmond said.

But another resident, Ken Montz, spoke in favor of the Ziontses' plan. Montz said he lives on a section of Dodge Road that also could be affected by a Youngs Road extension and hopes the town never goes through with the plan.

Any decision made by the Planning Board on the Ziontses' request will be forwarded to the Town Board as an advisory opinion. The Town Board then would hold another public hearing on the proposal before voting on the request.

e-mail: sschulman@buffnews.com

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