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Judge reserves ruling on challenge to Amherst Town Centre proposal

A judge Wednesday reserved decision on a homeowner group's challenge to the $44 million Amherst Town Centre, proposed for the site of the Buffalo Shooting Club on Maple Road.

Richard G. Berger, attorney for the Fairways Group, property owners challenging the Benderson Development Co. project, pointed to traffic and environmental problems during a court hearing before State Supreme Court Justice Rose H. Sconiers.

In their suit, nine members of the Fairways Group and a Town Board member contend the board needed a supermajority vote to rezone the site for development, which they also say violates the town's comprehensive plan.

In addition, they claim problems with the state's environmental review of the project and violations of the state's Open Meeting Law.

UB officials support the project, which is south of the North Campus.

Sconiers said she will issue a written decision on the challenge to the 34-acre project, which has been called a "lifestyle center."

Thomas A. Shepardson, a Benderson attorney, and attorney Alan P. McCracken, representing the Town Board, said such mixed-used developments were always planned for the area around UB's North Campus.

Shepardson also told the judge that Benderson has planned a 100-foot deep conservation area between the development and residential properties on the other side of Maple.

Berger said homeowners are concerned about reports that on some days, more than 1,000 cars an hour will be driving to the commercial center, with residential streets south of the project facing increased traffic and endangering pedestrians.

But Shepardson said that such a traffic "cut-through" problem would be dealt with by Benderson once the project gets under way.

Amherst Town Centre will have close-clustered buildings in a village design, featuring specialty retail along with a hotel, office and apartment spaces, restaurants, a public plaza and a 4.5-acre park, with 75 condominium units.

News Staff Reporter Sandra Tan contributed to this report.

e-mail: mgryta@buffnews.com

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