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Clarence OKs senior plan rezoning

Plans for a senior citizen apartment complex off Roll Road in Clarence got a boost Wednesday.

The Town Board agreed to rezone land where the 125-unit complex would be built. The board also approved a special-exception use permit for the project itself.

Affordable Senior Housing Opportunities of New York still must submit development plans that will require approval. But the rezoning and permit approval by the Town Board were significant steps for a project that has faced obstacles.

Both board votes were 4-0; Councilman Bernard J. Kolber was absent. The special-exception use permit required a supermajority of at least four votes to pass.

The land at 8040 Roll was rezoned to restricted business from commercial and residential single-family, which planning officials said was consistent with the town's amended master plan.

Affordable Senior Housing has faced hurdles with its plan. In January, the Zoning Board of Appeals rejected the developer's request for a density variance, but in April, the zoning board approved a slightly smaller version of the project.

Three residents who spoke at the Wednesday meeting raised questions about development and traffic stemming from the rezoning and the three-story project.

William R. Schuster said he was concerned about the precedent the multifamily project could set. "Preserve the rural character of our town," he told the board. "Don't concern yourself so much with whether our town is perceived as being business-unfriendly. Concern yourselves more with whether or not this board is starting to gain a reputation for being citizen-unfriendly."

Councilman Peter T. DiCostanzo said the board's votes related to only one project. "We're not changing the rules for the whole town," he said. "It's just this one project."

In other business, the town will enter into a six-month contract with Rotella Grant Management to provide grant-writing services. The cost is not to exceed $1,800 per month.