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Kulpa enters race for Amherst town supervisor

Williamsville Mayor Brian J. Kulpa on Tuesday announced his intention to run this year for Amherst town supervisor.

Kulpa said he hopes to expand momentum on projects at the village level to the wider town, the largest in Western New York.

"I want to take the opportunity to see if I can be a part of the town's future success," said Kulpa, an architect and urban planner, on Tuesday in his office at the downtown Buffalo firm Clark Patterson Lee.

The current town supervisor, Barry A. Weinstein, is in the final year of his second term and barred by term limits from seeking a third. Weinstein was elected as a Republican.

Kulpa, a Democrat, said the village under his leadership has been "proactive" on issues like calming traffic on Main Street to make it more walkable and accessible through its ongoing "Picture Main Street" initiative.

"For forever and a day the village said, 'Well, it's a state road, there's not much we can do about it,'" Kulpa said. "We said, 'No, we're going to lead and dictate the process here.' It's our road, it's our job, it's our village. We need to figure out how to get it changed."

Kulpa said he is running on a platform of "smart growth" principles under the slogan "professionalism, not politics."

"I practice 'smart growth' every minute of every day in my private sector career," he said.

For Amherst, that means ensuring residential and commercial property values remain strong, attracting investment in previously developed parcels and responding to the loss of "big box" retailers, he said.

"A lot of the commercial market in Amherst is built around big box," he said. "What's on the table next? How does the mixed-use that has been prevalent throughout the country impact a town that hasn't really been built around it?"

Kulpa said he has learned those lessons from working with other communities, and will continue to learn and train in best practices.

"My passion has always been community growth," he said. "A lot of my hobbies have to do with exploring what's happening in this country and other countries in terms of how neighborhoods and cities are transforming."

A Town of Tonawanda native and St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute graduate, Kulpa, 38, holds bachelor's and master's degrees in architecture and urban planning from the University at Buffalo. He has served as mayor of the one-square-mile village for the last 5½ years and a village trustee for four years before that.

"I believe in making decisions from the point of strong professional study and strong research with good numbers, good analysis," he said.

Kulpa said he will seek the endorsement of the town's Democratic Committee, which is typically offered in the spring. Kulpa said he is also fiscally conservative, values green space and a right-to-agriculture.

"The town is stretched right now," he said. "Bottom line is there isn't a ton of green space for the town to continue to develop in. We need to really focus on what redevelopment is."

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