A new plan for a controversial retail and office building on the Amherst-Williamsville border has been given to town and village officials, with a decision on parking the key.
A revised layout for commercial property on the south side of Main Street, between Hirschfield Drive and Richfield Road, places the two-story building entirely within the Village of Williamsville on the western portion of the site.
However, Amherst must grant a parking variance on its side of the parcel for the project to fly, officials said.
On Feb. 5, the Amherst Town Board denied a request to rezone residentially zoned rear properties on the site in connection with plans for a two-story, 20,000-square-foot building, with retail on the first floor and medical offices upstairs.
That building straddled the town-village line.
The new plan shows a two-story, 18,400-square-foot building at the southwest corner of Main and Hirschfield, entirely within the village. The boomerang-shaped building with a 50-foot-high watchtower would have 92 parking spaces, and 32 percent of the site would be devoted to landscaping.
However, the developers assert that the project isn't feasible without permission to use residentially zoned property on the Amherst side of the site for parking. Less than 25 percent of all project parking would be located on this residential lot, according to the request.
Property owner Lawrence N. Teruel and project architect Mark A. Dean have filed an application for a parking variance at 21 Richfield with the Amherst Zoning Board of Appeals.
However, the Zoning Board needs a recommendation from the Amherst Planning Board before it can consider the request, officials said.
The project didn't get on this month's Planning Board agenda, and the next session isn't scheduled until March 21. The Zoning Board meets before the Planning Board next month, so that the Zoning Board won't be able to consider the project until at least April 16, town officials said.
Meanwhile, because the project depends on a parking variance from the town, Williamsville Trustee Joseph P. Frese said Tuesday that the Village Board plans on waiting for the town Zoning Board's ruling before scheduling its public hearing.
The Amherst Planning Board held its hearing on the original project Aug. 17, recommending approval Sept. 21 after learning that Williamsville officials were generally supportive.
However, the Town Board unanimously denied the rezoning this month after neighbors registered several objections to the size of the building and its impact on a quiet residential neighborhood.Neighbors said they wanted to see the existing business property between Hirschfield and Richfield improved and kept up, not made larger. The plan under consideration involves demolishing several small businesses between Placey's, a longtime neighborhood tavern, and Hirschfield Drive.