Developers ignore character of Amherst neighborhoods
Buffalo has the Green Code. In the suburbs, it’s Imagine Amherst. Perhaps a better name for it is Developers Nirvana, because that’s the result. Small footprint, tall building, don’t need green space, buffers or parking. But the motivation and end product are the same. Maximizing profits to developers by maximizing density and intensity of land use undertaken in a manner that is blind to the existing neighborhood character or the adjacent residents coupled with expedited approvals.
If you like the two six-story hotels on Main Street in Amherst, you will love what the planners and politicians have in store next. They say Main Street can handle an additional million square feet of retail and some 90 new apartments a year for five years. Mostly three stories in Snyder and Williamsville in the style of the new building across from Williamsville South – corner-hugging, edifice-intrusive, three-story buildings. Dense commercial and residential from Daemen to Burroughs. Five-story buildings on the Tops site at North Forest. They envision five-story buildings at Northtown Plaza flanked by a multistory parking ramp and more apartments and retail.
Town planners promised a robust community input phase for Imagine Amherst. But a sparse 15 residents were in attendance at the unveiling held in perhaps the most unpopular six-story building in Western New York.
Elected officials are reminded that they are temporary occupants of a position of trust and are expected to undertake their duties mindful of the views of the governed and to do so in an open, responsible manner for the betterment of the entire community.
Residents vote. Developers do not. Imagine that.
Michele F. Marconi