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REZONING PLAN FOR OFFICE BUILDING UPSETS RESIDENTS

A plan to construct an office building with 86 parking spots on a residentially zoned parcel at the corner of Sheridan Drive and Bauman Road has residents upset that the character of their neighborhood is in jeopardy.

A proposed rezoning for the project was before the town Planning Board on Thursday night, evoking strong opposition from neighborhood residents.

"This is a residential area," said Daniel J. Marinaro of Bauman Road.

"I just spent over $200,000 three months ago to move to Amherst," he said, adding that he moved to the neighborhood because he felt it was a safe place for his children.

But the proposed office building, with its traffic and 86-car parking lot, jeopardizes that safe environment, Marinaro said.

"It is dangerous," he said.

Margaret Gleason of Bauman Road agreed.

"I am going to have to live with my blinds closed," Gleason said, adding that she and her husband have always enjoyed sitting on the porch looking out at the suburban/rural setting on her street.

"I pay $6,000 a year in taxes to live here. I don't want to move because catty-corner to my house is now a parking lot," she said.

The resident opposition was in response to a proposal to put an office building at 5970-6010 Sheridan Drive at Bauman.

There is now a house on part of the site. The owner of the property, Merle L. Whitehead, wants to rezone about 1 acre of the 1.7-acre lot from residential to office building.

The rezoning would accommodate a proposed 20,000-square-foot office building. A real estate office would be located in about 14,000 or 15,000 square feet of the building.

Attorney Sean Hopkins, representing the property owner, said the proposed use would not generate a lot of traffic in the area. He said that about 30 percent of the property would be green space.

The property owner has met with residents, Hopkins said, and has made some changes to accommodate their concerns. For example, more landscaping was added, and the parking lot was moved.

But residents attending the Planning Board meeting were not impressed.

"I'm concerned about the noise and traffic," said Michael Burns of Sheridan Drive. "There is already a traffic problem."

"We just moved in in June," Morton Clayman of Hampton Hills said while speaking against the proposal. "This whole project came to us as a shock."

e-mail: sschulman@buffnews.com

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