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84 apartments proposed on site

A developer, thinking the nearby airport may attract good renters, has proposed building 84 apartments on six acres near wetlands at Transit Road and Genesee Street in Cheektowaga this summer.

"It's a great spot," said Pat Cipolla, founder of Bella Vista Group. More than three decades ago, 60 apartments his company built on Dick Road surprised him by renting quickly to people with work lives related to the airport, such as airline employees.

"They were the fastest-renting apartments that we ever had," he said. "That's why I feel it's such a good area."

The project near Genesee and Transit, which Cipolla would like to start building by August, requires a zoning change to allow for apartments in an area now zoned for commercial buildings, and one- and two-family dwellings. "I think it's a good location," said Daniel Ulatowski, zoning inspector and town planner.

The building lot is within 13 acres, almost seven of which will be preserved as wetlands, according to the plan submitted to the town. The apartments in seven buildings would make a transitional buffer between a nearby manufactured-home development and a company that sells equipment, Ulatowski said.

He expects a public hearing on the zoning change will be scheduled by June. So far, the Planning Board has been concerned about aesthetics. It has suggested that plans for Bella Vista's "Jasmine Acres" apartments include stone and brick, Ulatowski said. Current drawings have some stone, but one side of the buildings shows a long expanse of plain siding.

Cipolla said the apartments will rent for $850 to $950 a month.

e-mail: mkearns@buffnews.com

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