The Town of Amherst has expanded two new land zoning designations that are meant to refocus developers and property owners on the redevelopment of older parts of town.
Town leaders said the changes should continue to help address the complaints of those who feel they can’t make architecturally appropriate or business-friendly property improvements without having to get costly and time-consuming variances from the Zoning Board of Appeals.
“I think it’s very responsive to the public,” said Supervisor Barry Weinstein.
The Town Board this week voted to expand the “traditional neighborhood business” zoning designation to apply to property along the Kenmore and Bailey avenue corridors. This zoning designation previously has been applied to other parts of Eggertsville, including the Main/Eggert and Harlem/Kensington corridors.
The traditional neighborhood business designation promotes a more pedestrian-friendly, villagelike design. It encourages multistory buildings, pushes more buildings closer to the sidewalk, requires more ground-floor windows and limits and screens parking spaces, said Assistant Planning Director Gary Black.
The traditional neighborhood business designation doesn’t change the basic zoning for the older commercial areas, but it does apply new building design standards for everything from signs to landscaping. The new zoning would apply to new or renovated buildings.
The expanded traditional neighborhood business zone approved Monday, called “Eggertsville West” includes the following addresses: 39-71 Kenmore Ave, 3586-3640 Main Street, 3864-4027 Bailey Ave., 225-273 Grover Cleveland Highway, 97 Park Circle and 3 Stevenson Blvd.
The board also applied a new zoning designation called a “live-work district” to property along the Kenmore and Bailey avenue corridors. This area was once entirely residential but was rezoned to a “general business” classification in 1976, Black said. Despite this, most of the properties in this area remained residential.
The live-work zoning designation, first adopted by the town in June, seeks to preserve the homeowner quality of older parts of the town while allowing the properties to house limited commercial uses. It gives residential property owners along major town arteries more opportunities to capitalize on their high-visibility locations while protecting and maintaining the area’s residential status, Black said.
Individual properties in the live-work zone could house one or two families, in addition to the following types of low-intensity commercial businesses: ad agencies, tailor and shoe repair shops, art studios, beauty/barber shops, bed and breakfasts, offices, photography studios, on-site arts and crafts production and sale, and day care centers.
Parking and signs would be restricted, and commercial hours of operation would be limited from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Most general retail uses would be prohibited. Restaurants, drive-thru businesses and any industrial uses would also be banned.
The Town Board unanimously approved both the expansion of the traditional neighborhood business zone and the newly created live-work zone.