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Option to extend Youngs Road is put back in Amherst master plan

An unfunded option to extend Youngs Road north from Casey Road to French Road in Amherst has been put back in the town’s comprehensive master plan.

Democrats on the Town Board voted, 3-2, Monday in favor of restoring the option, which had long been included in various versions of the town’s master plan dating from 1955. It was removed from the current master plan in February 2015 by the town’s previous Republican majority.

When the new Democratic majority was installed this year, it voted to have the Planning Department explore reintroducing to the master plan an option to someday pursue an extension of Youngs.

A majority of speakers during an April 19 public hearing on amending the master plan spoke out against reintroducing the concept of extending Youngs, arguing that it would bring unwanted development, destroy the character of the surrounding neighborhood and divert traffic from Transit Road to Casey.

Casey does not have sidewalks yet provides a route to school for students attending Casey Middle and Dodge Elementary schools.

“I know there are particular viewpoints expressed about it,” said Councilwoman Deborah Bruch Bucki, a Democrat who had served a previous term on the Town Board in 2006, regarding the strong neighborhood opposition to the possibility of a Youngs Road extension.

“When I was on the board before, we adopted a comprehensive plan, and the Youngs Road extension was in place at that time. It had been in place for quite a while. I just want to vote to preserve the idea, in light of how I voted previously on this particular item.”

The long-standing option for a Youngs Road extension was removed from the master plan a little over a year ago in order to accommodate plans for a 26-unit subdivision at 270 Casey Road. The developer, Henry Sicignano III, had also requested that the property be rezoned from suburban-agricultural to a multifamily designation.

Sicignano was subsequently advised by the Planning Department that his layout for the subdivision was incompatible with plans for a possible Youngs Road extension, as shown in the master plan. Sicignano then amended his application to include a request that the master plan be amended to remove any possibility of a Youngs Road Extension being built.

Supervisor Barry A. Weinstein said the town has neither the funding nor the standing to build an extension of Youngs. He was joined Monday by fellow Republican Steven D. Sanders in opposing the amendment.

“As I said before, previously, the Youngs Road extension would be on land we don’t own, through wetlands that should not be developed with funds that we don’t have to take traffic off Transit Road, where it belongs,” Weinstein said.