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Roadwork is key to new Walmart

Connecting the proposed Walmart off Milestrip Road to Southwestern Boulevard appears to be the cost of doing business in Orchard Park.

Town officials met with representatives of Walmart on Tuesday to discuss the project.

"We don't feel the taxpayers of this community should be responsible for paying for things that enable you to develop a project," Councilwoman Nan Ackerman said.

During the discussion, the two sides showed a willingness to negotiate issues that had separated them a month ago.

"We feel that if you develop a project, it should enhance or at least be made equal to what we have currently in terms of safety," Ackerman said.

"We hear you loud and clear on that particular point. The primary concern here is safety," said Walmart attorney Kelly A. Pronti. "We're trying to understand the scope of what the town is looking for. What is it going to take to meet your criteria, which is a pretty vague criteria?"

The entrance to Walmart would be built across from the entrance to Quaker Crossing. One suggestion has that road connecting with South Benzing Road, which is off Southwestern.

That plan satisfies the town's desire to have a second access to Walmart to address safety and traffic flow concerns.

If the best option is shifting South Benzing to the east to line up with Taylor Road at Southwestern, the town thinks Walmart should do that, too.

"The town's opinion is do it right and do it once," Town Engineer Wayne Biehler said.

But town officials still want the developer to study the possible road configurations and share its data from traffic studies. The information is in a computer program that is incompatible with that of the town's consultant, TVGA, Biehler said.

Walmart has agreed to continue funding TVGA's study of the project for the town.

Also being studied is the possible construction of a traffic circle on Amelia Drive, off Milestrip, to relieve traffic pressures there.

Nearly a dozen issues were discussed at the meeting. Ackerman said some of them, such as snow storage, cleaning and maintaining the grounds and roads, underground irrigation for islands in the parking area and heated sidewalks, will be addressed by the Planning and Conservation boards should the project win approval from the Town Board.

e-mail: bobrien@buffnews.com

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