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Agreement reached on access to project New road to lead to Shawnee Landing

An agreement was reached Friday on access to a low-income housing project on Shawnee Road.

Access to the eight-acre construction site will be closed from Klemer and Demler roads and a permanent road constructed to Shawnee. The agreement was announced after Supervisor Timothy E. Demler met with representatives of Belmont Shelter Corp. and the resident group fighting Town Homes at Shawnee Landing.

"As of today, and with the help of our residents and Mike Riegel [of Belmont], we have agreed to permanently close the access from Klemer and Demler roads into the site, and dedicate the road access from Shawnee Road," Demler said. "This helps clarify the concerns that the town and the residents have had with safety and access."

Since construction began late last year, vehicles have used the west entrance and both Klemer and Demler roads have incurred damage, officials said. The adjacent residential neighborhood also had been disrupted by the heavy traffic.

A gravel road already exists to Shawnee and the formal dedication, along with paving, would progress as quickly as possible, the supervisor said.
Demler said he has contacted the state to secure $10,000 to $20,000 in grant money to finish the 220-foot road.

He said that light traffic from construction employees would continue through the west entrance until the new road is finished in a couple of months. The west entrance would then be permanently closed, he said.

Demler said the agreement would safeguard the concerns of the residents as traffic goes to and from Niagara Falls Boulevard.

Meanwhile, he said, he wants drainage work to continue on the site and a tree row and berms to be established as a buffer.

He promised also to pursue a state traffic study on Shawnee to make it wider with a left-hand turning lane.

The $9.9 million apartment complex created a storm of controversy in December, when dozens of residents appeared at town meetings to demand that officials take some sort of action against the developers.

Complaints were mostly aimed at the impacts of traffic, drainage and property values.

When the town limited access to the site, Belmont filed suit in State Supreme Court.

The town was also the subject of discrimination complaints by Housing Opportunities Made Equal, a Buffalo fair housing organization that accused officials of trying to block the 64-unit complex that is designed for low-income residents.

The parties have been working on a settlement since February.

"We all learned something here," Demler commented. "I know we are all interested in continuing communication to satisfy all the interests."

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