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The Clarence Town Board is exploring an annual cap on new multifamily residential development units, as it contemplates how to handle an expected influx of apartment projects.

The Town Board on Wednesday did not make a decision about a cap, but informally agreed to take up the matter at its work session in early March.

Town Board members in recent months have discussed how to best handle expected growth in apartment development, with several projects either proposed or being talked about.

James Callahan, director of community development, said he did not expect the Planning Board would give the Town Board a recommendation on a cap number.

“It’s going to be a Town Board matter,” he said.

Callahan suggested that a better method than a cap would be to manage apartment growth on the “front end,” through the state Environmental Quality Review Act, rather than at the “back end” after projects are approved.

“If you approve a project and you do the environmental review on it and you identify the full build-out of that can be accommodated, then you say you put an artificial cap on top of that, it’s going to be legally questionable,” Callahan said.

Councilman Bernard J. Kolber said the town already has an annual cap of 240 single-family residential permits and can do something similar for apartments.

“What is the limitation on growth for the town for a number of units?” Kolber said. “It’s not one project, but multiple projects coming forward.”

Town Councilman Patrick Casilio Jr. added: “I don’t think the intent is to stifle a single project. But do you want 1,200 apartments being built all at once with a five-man building department?”

Town Attorney Lawrence Meckler was asked to prepare a legal opinion related to a new-apartment cap.

In other business:

• The Town Board during its work session interviewed four candidates for an alternate position on the Zoning Board of Appeals.

The Town Board started conducting the interviews behind closed doors before The Buffalo News protested the exclusion under the Open Meetings Law. The board then allowed public access. The four candidates interviewed were: Larry Wolfe, Greg Thrun, Richard McNamara and Michelle Braun. No decision was made on an appointment.

• Supervisor David C. Hartzell Jr. said more than 300 quality-of-life surveys have been filled out and submitted.

email: mglynn@buffnews.com