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Access road for Fox Run in Orchard Park opened

Orchard Park Town Board members Wednesday night approved a new access to the Fox Run senior development to allow residents to get to California Road.

“I think this is really a great move,” Supervisor Janis Colarusso said, nothing that residents in the retirement community found it difficult to make a left turn out of Fox Run’s only access road onto Big Tree Road (Route 20A).

The development, with about 300 units of patio homes, apartments as well as assisted living, specialized memory care and skilled nursing beds, was built with the single access onto Big Tree Road. But since it opened in 2007, a traffic signal has been added at California and Big Tree.

The Planning Board strongly recommended removing the gate on the emergency access road. Planners required a new traffic study to be performed since the environmental impact statement approved for the development indicated there would be a traffic impact. But that conclusion was reached before the new signal was erected.

The Planning Board told the executive director of Fox Run the town could not override the original environmental report without a traffic study concluding there would not be significant impact from taking the gate off the paved access road to California Road.

A vote of residents showed 66 percent were in favor of opening up the new access road. Those who were against it were concerned about safety, security, increased traffic and becoming a short cut around the traffic signal, according to Planning Board minutes.

Also Wednesday night, the Town Board approved a memorandum of understanding with the white-collar union, allowing members to be compensated for overtime with time-and-a-half pay or time off, at the employee’s request. The agreement expires at the end of the year, when the contract expires, the supervisor said.