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Tonawanda Creek Road subdivision moves closer to construction

A proposed 139-lot subdivision on Tonawanda Creek Road moved closer to breaking ground Thursday evening, after the Amherst Planning Board determined the project would not have a significant negative impact on the environment.

The board voted, 5-1, to move the project, dubbed Briar Hollow, forward, with Mary Shapiro voting to delay approval. The subdivision, proposed at 271 Tonawanda Creek Road, is being developed by M.J. Peterson LLC.

The next step for the project is a public hearing at the Planning Board’s meeting April 21. That hearing will be on the development’s preliminary “plat,” a map showing the technical aspects of the subdivision, like drainage and sewage lines, said Gary Black, assistant planning director for the Town of Amherst.

The project has been in the works for over a year, said Sean W. Hopkins, an attorney for the developer. The Amherst Town Board rezoned the property in June 2015, allowing the project to move forward to the Planning Board. The property formerly held the County Line Airport, a private airport built in 1945.

The planned subdivision will sit on 55 acres bordered by Daisy Lane and Creekwood Drive to the north; East Summerset Lane to the west; Sundridge Drive to the east; and Caspian Court to the south. Twenty-one acres in the southwest corner will be designated as a wetlands conservation area, Hopkins said.

The town was offered the conserved land by the developer, Black said, but hasn’t decided whether to take the land.

“We’re mulling over that now,” he said.

The developer is also awaiting approval from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation on its mitigation plan for the 21 acres of wetlands, Hopkins said, noting that it will remain a conservation area regardless of what the town decides to do with it.

“We’re hopeful we get DEC approval before the next Planning Board meeting,” he said.

Neighbors to the planned subdivision were initially against the development, until the developer revised the zoning for the project to allow only single-family homes on the property, alleviating concerns.

If all goes well, Hopkins said, construction on the site will start in the coming months.

“The goal is to break ground in the summer or fall of 2016,” he said.