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Linwood Avenue apartment proposal suffers setback, over setback

A lack of enough sideyard setback caused a minor setback for a proposed new five-unit apartment building on Linwood Avenue, as a newly discovered need for a zoning variance meant the Buffalo Planning Board could not approve a project its members otherwise liked.

Jesse Hawker of East Amherst plans to construct a three-story building on a quarter-acre lot at 295 Linwood, where he demolished a deteriorated former duplex.

The 7,802-square-foot structure, which would include two one-bedroom and three two-bedroom apartments, would feature a facade of white brick and fiber-cement panel, with a green preweathered copper roof and red stone base. A new driveway under one side of the 34-foot tall building would lead to a paved rear area containing an eight-car garage.

The project, which would take 10 months to a year to build, has the backing of neighbors and the Buffalo Preservation Board, although Leslie Edmiston from the Linwood Preservation District voiced concern that Hawker and architect Joshua Best had changed the driveway from permeable pavers to asphalt.

Best explained that decision stemmed from concern about pavers "being whacked every time" snowplows come through, but said Hawker is willing to consider using them as a border along the driveway.

The building is designed to fit on the same footprint as the former home, in keeping with the historic neighborhood.

But project attorney Sean Hopkins said the developer learned Friday the Green Code now requires a minimum combined setback of nine feet, where the proposal has only seven feet.

Hawker will seek a variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals, and hopes to return for Planning Board approval July 30.

"I think it's very sensitive to the neighborhood," said Planning Board Vice Chair Cynthia Schwartz.

East Amherst developer plans five-unit building for Linwood Avenue

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