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Patio home development criticized

Several Aurora-area residents Monday blasted a patio home development proposed near the polo grounds of Knox Farm State Park, largely out of concerns that it could erode the tax base and encourage sprawl.

About 50 people crowded into Town Hall, many of them to complain about the 47-unit project proposed by Legacy Development of Amherst for 15.7 acres on Quaker Road behind the town barns on the edge of the village. The site also housed a mobile home park.

"I'm an empty-nester, and I'm willing to pay full school taxes,so our schools stay good," Joan Herold told the Town Board during a public hearing on the preliminary plans. "I'd like to not see any cluster development go in until there's an assurance that [those residents] would pay full taxes."

Herold was among many who have long criticized the project for fear that homeowners within an association that would be formed for the development would eventually seek sizable tax breaks if their patio homes met state requirements to be converted to condominium status.

"Those places are too close together," Gay Baines said of the patio homes. "I don't like the location, and I'm on a fixed income. Don't Amherst East Aurora."

Some senior citizens, however, said that other than the existing Stonegate development, they have no options for downsizing in the East Aurora area. Many also fear how expensive the homes will be.

The project would be built on roughly half of the 15 acres and would not be limited to senior citizens, though the developer has said it would likely be dominated by empty-nesters. The developer has not disclosed any potential price range for the homes.

The Town Board next plans to iron out questions with the town attorney and the developer.

"We'll put the ball back into the developer's court," Supervisor Terence Yarnall said afterward.


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