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Board shelves plan to extend Youngs Road

Plans to complete a north-south corridor for travelers in East Amherst have taken a detour.

A subdivision will be built in the way, instead.

The Amherst Town Board on Monday rezoned eight acres at Casey and Youngs roads for a 30-lot, single-family subdivision.

The layout of the subdivision precludes the future extension of Youngs, which has long been discussed as an option to help move traffic through the Town of Amherst.

But the majority of the board decided that if the town hasn’t completed the extension by now it’s probably never going to happen.

“It’s a road we’ll never build, on land we don’t own, on wetlands we should never disturb,” said Council Member Mark A. Manna.

The board, by a 4 to 1 vote, agreed to rezone the eight acres at 370 Casey for the subdivision proposed by developer Henry Sicignano III.

It also agreed to amend the town’s comprehensive plan to remove all references to the proposed Youngs Road extension.

“I don’t see this Youngs Road extension ever going in,” said Council Member Steven D. Sanders, “in which case it’s silly to leave it in our comprehensive plan.”

Supervisor Barry A. Weinstein and Council Member Guy R. Marlette said even if the town could afford the project, they’re not in favor of shifting traffic problems from other roads onto Youngs.

Extending Youngs has been considered an option in the town’s master plan dating back to at least 1955.

The corridor was constructed incrementally over time from Sheridan Drive to its current terminus at Casey.

The final link is to extend Youngs – from Casey to North French Road – connecting Youngs with New Road to create a north-south corridor.

The last time Amherst considered the idea was 1998, but the board at the time tabled the discussion for another day.

Council Member Ramona D. Popowich, who cast the lone vote against the subdivision, said the Youngs Road extension could alleviate traffic elsewhere, particularly on Casey, Dodge and Transit roads.

“I think the town should keep its options open for a possible Youngs Road extension in the future,” she said.

In other business at Monday’s meeting, a public hearing was held on a proposed apartment building located at the southeast corner of Millersport Highway and North Forest Road.

Francis J. Jacobi initially wanted the Town Board to reclassify a total of 1.96 acres on two parcels at 2240 and 2250 North Forest to construct a three-story apartment building with 18 units and 37 parking spaces, according to plans filed with the town.

Neighbors, however, spoke against the project and Jacobi decided he will consider an alternative concept to address some of the neighborhood concerns.

The project was referred to the Amherst Planning Department.

The Town Board earlier this month gave Robert Savarino of RAS Development the go-ahead for a 96-unit apartment project less than a half mile away on North Forest, near John Muir Drive.

Jacobi’s project, however, has faced more scrutiny from the town. The Planning Board in October recommended to the Town Board that it deny the project, because of its proximity to residences.