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Board drops support for Seven Corners plan

Upon further review, the Hamburg Town Board has changed its mind and withdrawn its support for a plan to reconfigure the Seven Corners intersection.

State Sen. William T. Stachowski, D-Buffalo, also has declared his opposition to the plan.

It involves realigning Big Tree Road so that both approaches end prior to the intersection with Southwestern Boulevard and McKinley Parkway and traffic is diverted onto Southwestern, forming new T-intersections to the east and west of what would then be the McKinley-Southwestern intersection.

The Town Board voted unanimously Monday to revoke its prior endorsement of the realignment and urge the state Department of Transportation to instead widen the roads and add turning lanes.

However, the DOT has already approved the realignment as part of a larger plan to improve Southwestern with the project scheduled to begin in the spring of 2007.

Supervisor Steven J. Walters said after the meeting that there are safety concerns about adding two intersections and also concerns about adding an intersection near the Thruway overpass on Southwestern. A traffic light could force traffic going down the hill to stop and also make it difficult for trucks to get up the hill if they are forced to stop, he said.

In addition, the town opposes a plan to take a home on Big Tree for the project; the homeowner does not want to move, Walters said.

The board said it has concerns about the cost, the disruption caused by construction and whether there will be any benefit beyond what was already achieved with previous improvements to the intersection.

The Big Tree Fire Company previously went on record as opposing the plan and in a recent letter to DOT, Stachowski said he has similar concerns.

The cost of installing two intersections "does not warrant the minute time savings for motorists," Stachowski said.

In other action, the board:

* Observed a moment of silence for Michael Crawford, an employee of the Buildings and Grounds Department, who was killed in a motorcycle accident Saturday. He is survived by his wife and son.

* Referred to the Planning Board a plan for a 151-unit adult community featuring ranch-style condominiums.

The proposal by Vanderbilt Properties is for 42 acres on the east side of Southwestern south of Amsdell Road.

It would require a zoning change from Residential-Agricultural to Planned Unit Development and also an amendment to the comprehensive plan. However, the board said the plan has "some merit," and the comprehensive plan is due for review.

Approved a zoning change for five households on South Park Avenue near Howard Road from General Commercial to Neighborhood Commercial with the idea of maintaining the residential character of the area while allowing for small businesses.

Approved a two-year contract with Waste Management, the lone bidder, that will reduce the number of monthly bulk trash collections from nine to seven. The $156,000 contract for this year is still $6,000 over budget, Highway Superintendent James Connolly said.

The collections begin this month, but the last one will be in September, rather than November.

Had the proposed refuse district not been defeated in a referendum, there would be a bulk trash collection every week, Connolly said.

e-mail: ternst@buffnews.com

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