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Amherst board approves rezoning of parcel for hotel and apartment project near UB

A site near the University at Buffalo North Campus in Amherst is primed for the development of a four-story hotel and two-story apartment house.

The Town Board on Monday unanimously approved rezoning a 3-acre parcel on Rensch Road for the proposed project by Ellicott Development of Buffalo.

The approval came with six stipulations, including an agreement by the developer not to oppose the designation of a 186-year-old stone house at 4030 Rensch as a historic structure. This means that the house will be incorporated into the project and that its five stone columns will be preserved.

The developer also will be required to install a sidewalk along Rensch to provide a continuous walkway along the frontage of the development, as well as along the frontage of property owned by the Erie County Water Authority at 1201 Sweet Home Road.

There was virtually no objection to the project from the public two weeks ago, when the board held a public hearing on the rezoning. At that hearing, Megan H. Brinton, chairwoman of the Amherst Historic Preservation Commission, spoke favorably of the project because of plans by the developer to support the commission’s efforts to seek historic status for the stone house.

Brinton also noted that much of the fabric of the community – once an enclave of single-family homes – had been destroyed nearly 40 years ago following rezonings to accommodate commercial properties such as factories and warehouses.

Supervisor Barry A. Weinstein said that all parties involved worked cooperatively to minimize the friction that sometimes arises between residents and the developers of mixed-use projects in the county’s largest town.

“It’s a good example of everyone working together and being satisfied, the Historic Preservation (Commission) and the developer coming to unanimity,” Weinstein said Monday.

The mixed-use development plan calls for building a 107-room hotel on two parcels at 3880 and 3900 Rensch. The single-family dwellings that currently occupy those lots would be demolished.