No work should begin on apartments planned for Youngs Road in Amherst until the Army Corps of Engineers has a chance to review claims that the site contains wetlands.
That’s the contention from opponents, who went to the Town Board meeting Tuesday night and pleaded with town officials to intervene in Amherst’s latest building controversy.
“I’m asking this board not to permit any construction until this issue is resolved,” said Dennis Norton, a Youngs Road resident.
“You are elected to lead, now lead,” Treebrooke Court resident Mike Martha told the board.
Site plans for a two-story, 59-unit senior citizens apartment building on Youngs, south of Renaissance Drive and north of Treebrooke Court, were approved last month by the Amherst Planning Board. No approvals were needed by the Town Board.
Neighborhood opponents, however, insist more than half of the property is wetlands containing natural channels that allow water to flow into Amherst Ditch No. 4 and eventually empty into Ellicott Creek. Destroying the wetlands, they say, would have a huge negative impact on the environment. They have statements from two scientists supporting their claim.
The Army Corps is investigating, said Patrick Welch, president of the neighborhood group Protect Amherst Life Association.
But the project already has received the necessary site plan approval from the Planning Board, so Welch and nearly two dozen neighbors asked the Town Board to step in by preventing any necessary permits to begin building.
Opponents spoke for two hours at the March Planning Board hearing and provided more than 300 pages of material that supported their claims, Welch said Tuesday.
“The Planning Board gave absolutely zero consideration to the residents’ experts on the wetlands issue,” Welch told town officials.
“There was absolutely no need to approve the site plan at this meeting except to serve the interests of the developer,” Welch added. “Once again the members of the Planning Board chose the developer over the people of Amherst.”