Share this article

print logo

Proposed four-story apartment building casts shadow over Cheektowaga neighborhood

Mornings at John and Margaret Brueckl’s house in Cheektowaga often are spent around the table in the dining room, where sunlight streams in through east-facing windows.

“I watch the sun coming up every morning with my coffee,” Margaret Brueckl said.

But a four-story senior housing apartment building proposed for a Cayuga Road site directly behind their home threatens to cast a shadow on the Brueckls and other residents of Harvard Court, who fear a loss of privacy.

Clover Communities Cayuga plans to demolish existing one-story office buildings at 280 and 300 Cayuga Road, then redevelop the site, which also includes a lot at 274 Cayuga, with a residential garage. The four-story, 84-unit building would house a mix of one- and two-bedroom market-rate apartments with balconies.

Clover has filed an application to rezone the three parcels from neighborhood services, a business district, to senior citizen housing, a residence district. A spokesman for the developer didn’t respond to an email or phone call seeking comment.

Neighbors who oppose the project point to the size of the site.

“It’s just not big enough for what they want to put here,” John Brueckl said. “I’m affected the most.”

On Brueckl’s oddly shaped lot, the distance between a corner of the house and the rear property line can be spanned by his outstretched arms.

The distance between that property line and the back wall of the building is just shy of 95 feet, according to the proposal. Plans include a 6-foot privacy fence, as well as a landscaping buffer.

The Brueckls’ outdoor living space is a yard on the south side of their property, where there is a deck attached to the garage, an above-ground pool and a gazebo.

“We spend all our time in this part of the yard,” Brueckl said.

The short leg of the L-shaped building would be 55 feet from a shed in Brueckl’s side yard.

“We’re not going to have any privacy on our deck. He’s not going to have any privacy in his yard,” Brueckl said, gesturing to a neighbor’s home with an in-ground pool.

“It’s too close, and it’s much too high,” said Peggy Mengay, who lives on the other side of the Brueckls and also worries about her privacy.

Topping out at 49 feet, 5 inches, the proposed structure is almost four feet taller than a residential hotel on Anderson Road. It would be taller than other nearby buildings along Cayuga Road.

Mengay also voiced concerns about the safety of elderly tenants navigating Cayuga Road traffic to access the site, as well as its proximity to Buffalo Niagara International Airport, on the other side of Cayuga.

A senior aviation planner for the airport chimed in about the proposal in a letter received Thursday by the town’s Building and Plumbing Department.

While there was no objection to rezoning the proposed site, planner Mark R. Clark said that acoustical mitigation should be considered because of its location near the airport. He also expressed concern about a possible stormwater detention basin that could attract waterfowl.

Finally, Clark wrote that potential pilot glare must be considered in the design and placement of lighting fixtures on the property.

Harvard Court residents stressed that their opposition has nothing to do with the project’s target market of senior citizens. It’s the site, they say.

“Until you see it, you can’t really get the full effect of what it’s going to do,” Brueckl said.

A presentation by the developer is tentatively expected at the April 10 Planning Board meeting. A Town Board public hearing on the rezoning request is expected to occur in May.