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Flying golf balls may pose hazard for housing project

For golfers, the closer they are to the course, the better.

But some Cheektowaga officials are wondering if proposed patio homes with several back yards within chipping distance of the seventh green of a soon-to-be-opened golf course might be too close.

Sam Tadio and Patrick Cipolla want to build 52 patio homes on 8.6 acres on the north side of Rehm Road. The rear of part of the subdivision would back up to Diamond Hawk golf course, causing some members of the Environmental Advisory Committee to wonder if wayward balls might end up on people's lawns or through windows.

Town Engineer William Pugh suggested having the golf course designer write a letter addressing the issue.

The rear yards drawn on the preliminary plan are 7.8 feet to 15 feet deep. Board members noted those dimensions fall below the 25 feet required under the zoning code. They also wondered what the liability might be for the town and golf course, if balls headed for the seventh green go astray. Cipolla indicated he would seek a variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals on the size of the yard.

Zoning Inspector Daniel Ulatowski suggested the developers try to purchase adjacent property, which would allow greater creativity in the layout of the houses. Cipolla said they had approached neighboring property owners, but the price for the land was too high.

OVER 36 LNsTadio also is the developer of the town-owned golf course, which is situated between Rehm Road and Sonwil Drive, and is set to open this year.

He is requesting a rezoning for the patio home parcel from residential to residential-apartment, which covers dwelling groups, condominiums and town houses. The town's current zoning code does not address patio homes, although there are several patio home developments in town.

Committee members said the developers must provide the town with reports identifying the natural resources, including any forest and wetland areas on the vacant property, and the impact the project will have on sewers.

The town also will look at how the common areas of the development conserve the natural resources, he said. Cipolla said the narrow lot does not lend itself to many layout opportunities, and the vegetation on the property is "too dense to save."

e-mail: bobrien@buffnews.com

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