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Traffic identified as key issue in Amherst town supervisor's race

Traffic has emerged as a key issue in the race for Amherst town supervisor, but neither candidate supports a moratorium on building in the town while traffic is studied.

"Moratoriums send a signal that the town is closed to business and closed to economic development," said Democratic candidate Brian J. Kulpa.

"We have got to be open for business," said Marjory H. Jaeger, a Conservative running on the Republican line. "If we're not opening our doors to reinvestment in vacant properties we're going to be in big trouble. Part of handling that is handling our traffic."

They were asked for their positions on a building moratorium Friday during a debate in Amherst Center for Senior Services.

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Jaeger said one of her first acts as supervisor would be commissioning a townwide traffic study.

Kulpa, an architect and urban planner who is also Williamsville's mayor, said the Planning Department needs to provide "solid traffic studies" to the town Zoning and Planning boards based on the applications in front of them.

"We can complete a traffic analysis while allowing good redevelopment projects to move forward," he said. "What we have to be careful of is allowing projects that will further exacerbate the problems we have with traffic flow by fanning out through our green spaces."

Jaeger, Amherst's town clerk, pointed to the recent opening of Whole Foods on Sheridan Drive in the Northtown Plaza as a project that can handle the traffic it generates. "That redevelopment is exactly what the town needs," she said.

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