A pair of public hearings at the Clarence Town Board meeting Wednesday evening turned into tug-of-war matches between preservation and development. The board wound up awarding a victory to each side.
Approved unanimously was the purchase for up to $2.5 million of about 170 acres of farmland between Kraus and Herr roads that will be kept as mostly agricultural open space, essentially unchanged and unbuilt upon.
Also approved unanimously was the open space overlay design for a major housing development – the proposed 151-lot Northwoods subdivision on the north side of Greiner Road and east of Shimerville Road.
Each hearing gave rise to objections from the other side. A Connor Road resident asked why millions would be spent on vacant land while his road was in such horrible condition.
“It’s a disaster. ... Why don’t you fix that road before something bad happens?” he pleaded.
Councilman Bernard Kolber explained that money for the land purchase was coming from the fund for Greenprint, which the town established in 2002 to protect green space and farmland.
“Greenprint money cannot be used to fix a county road,” he said. “The county has money set aside for that road, but they will not use it. We can’t touch that road. It’s a major priority of the board, trying to make it a major priority of the county.”
A man who hopes to build on a vacant lot across from the farmland asked what would be done about drainage through his property. Nothing, he was told, because the land would not be changed.
Debate over keeping an unobstructed view of a historic barn dominated the hearing on the Northwoods development that lasted more than an hour. Speakers objected to sightlines from Country Club Drive and Greiner Road being blocked or compromised, particularly by proposed homes on Lots 150 and 151.
The developers, Cimato Enterprises, were asked if they could relocate Lots 150 and 151, but pointed out on the subdivision’s map that there was no suitable space for them along the curving streets and cul-de-sacs.
“I don’t think we can do a heck of a lot,” Jeffrey Palumbo, attorney for the developers, said. “We need to get this approved tonight.”
There also were complaints about heavier traffic onto Greiner Road opposite Brookfield Lane and objections that possible recreational trails along a sewer line easement would intrude on the privacy of neighboring residents.
In approving the open space design overlay, which has been under consideration for more than two years, the board granted developers one concession they sought – elimination of sidewalks – but left the question of Lots 150 and 151 to be decided later.
In other business, the board unanimously gave Simon Yu approval to add a banquet hall to a restaurant a 10647 Main St. in Clarence Hollow.