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Supervisor has no authority to stop hotel development

In response to a letter printed in the June 5 News, I must correct an often-repeated complaint directed toward myself and the Amherst Town Board from anti-development residents.

As town supervisor, I have no authority to stop the development of the Iskalo Hyatt Hotel. The Town Board does not have any opportunity to vote on this matter, and as a member of the Amherst Industrial Development Agency, I voted against any public subsidy being granted to this project.

Councilman Mark Manna has chosen to use this controversy as a campaign platform, knowing full well that neither he nor the board has the power to stop it. I have instead chosen to focus on my role as administrator of town business, and to keep my original campaign promise made to our residents four years ago. I promised to fight to not raise taxes, and they have not been raised in the four years I have held the office of town supervisor.

I have addressed residents’ complaints and supported their issue to the maximum extent of my authority; I am an Amherst resident right alongside them. My responsibility as supervisor, and the responsibility of the Town Board, does not include stopping developments when they are not put before the Town Board.

New legislation would be required to restore development approval authority to the Town Board. Currently the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals have approval authority.

Every opportunity I had to vote against these projects, I did. As a board member of the Amherst IDA, voting against a taxpayer subsidy for the Lord Amherst renovation and against a tax subsidy for the Hyatt, and as town supervisor voting for the rezoning of Mike’s Pond to residential, as the residents requested.

Barry Weinstein, M.D.

Supervisor, Town of Amherst