The Amherst Town Board weighed two rezoning requests Monday to build apartment complexes on two different sites. In both cases, neighbors have raised objections.
One would put a senior apartment complex on the southwest corner of Maple and Ayer roads.
Another would add a 70-unit “luxury” apartment complex between Sheridan Drive and Transit Road, by the Sheridan Meadows office park.
The first public hearing at Monday night’s meeting involved a proposal by developers Paul Bliss and Michael Connors to rezone three single-family residential properties at the corner of Maple and Ayer as “multifamily residential” for the purpose of building an independent senior living apartment complex.
The complex would involve a single building with three stories, comprising 98 units. Most would be two-bedroom apartments, while 18 would be one-bedroom units, said lawyer Sean Hopkins. Each unit would have one designated parking space.
Hopkins said this intersection already is home to a commercial plaza, gas station, urgent care facility and medical offices, and that the use for this corner would be far less intensive than other commercial developments.
Residents who live on Ayer Road generally oppose the project, however.
Resident Tom Peters came forward with a petition of nearly 70 signatures in opposition to the project, citing traffic and other concerns. While one neighbor immediately to the south of the planned development submitted a letter of support, most other residents on the street are opposed, he said.
“I’ve only had two ‘nos’ of all the people I’ve asked to sign,” Peters said.
Hopkins, however, responded that senior apartments generate very little traffic overall, adding less than 10 cars to vehicle traffic counts during high-traffic periods.
“It doesn’t get any better than this in terms of the impact on traffic at peak times,” he said.
The board delayed voting on the rezoning request until its next meeting on Dec. 17.
Finally, the board heard a proposal by Uniland and developer Paul Bliss to rezone mostly vacant land at 6275 and 7610 Transit Road from its “office building” designation to “multifamily residential” in order to build a “luxury” apartment complex.
The proposal calls for creating 70 luxury apartments, ranging from one to three bedrooms, spread out among a dozen two-story buildings. The project would also include 140 parking spaces (52 garage spaces and 88 open spaces).
The plan also calls for creating three access points to the development, including access to Transit Road and Sheridan Drive via the existing Sheridan Meadows South office park, which would be adjacent to the project and is also owned by Uniland.
The development also calls for a connection through the small Tennyson Terrace community, which consists of homeowners who live on a narrow, dead-end street.
Those residents, however, expressed strong opposition to having their development opened up to the new apartment complex and possibly become a cut-through for office park and other traffic.
Rita J. Schlabach referred to a petition signed by more than 50 residents, as well as about 35 objection letters, and additional traffic diagrams given to the board in opposition to the project accessing their residential road.
Supervisor Barry Weinstein asked residents if they would withdraw their objections to the apartment project if the developer would agree to give up access to Tennyson Courts.
“Yes!” the audience responded.
The developers said they would accept that condition if it meant they would receive rezoning approval. The board agreed to vote on the rezoning request at its next meeting.