Residents of Roundtree Village in Hamburg let out gasps, guffaws and expletives Wednesday night when a traffic consultant said a proposed apartment complex would not significantly affect traffic.
DATO Development is proposing Sherwood Meadows, consisting of 128 apartment units east of Heatherwood Drive, and is seeking Planning Board approval. The development will have 256 parking spaces, and full build-out is expected to take five years.
Full development of the project would not significantly impact the highway system, said Robert Pidanick of Nussbaumer & Clarke, which performed a traffic study.
The study projects traffic at peak hours when the apartments are completed and filled. He said he studied the intersections of Howard Road with Camp and Roundtree roads and Southwestern Boulevard, and found the apartments would generate 65 vehicle trips more in the morning and 79 more in the evening.
Residents questioned the results and urged the Planning Board to reject the plans.
“The odds for an accident are obviously increased,” said Jim McDonnell of Woodhaven Circle.
“All of the traffic is going to have to go right through Heatherwood Drive and probably Roundtree,” said Richard Berger, an attorney who has been retained by two residents. “There’s no question there will be a significant increase in traffic.”
“Allowing our neighborhood to become their driveway is not acceptable,” added Charles Cox of Breckenridge Road.
The parcel has the appropriate zoning for a multi-family use such as apartments. The town approved 56 townhouses for the property in 2007, and a 990-foot-long road and one four-unit building was built. They will remain, said Sean Hopkins, an attorney for the developer. The project will include eight eight-unit buildings and four 16-unit buildings, he said. There will be 120 covered parking spaces among the 256 parking spaces required by the town code. Parking will be close to each building, not in one common lot, he said.
“This does not look like a Wegmans parking lot,” Hopkins said.
The architecture will be “upscale” and will fit in with the area, he said. Hopkins said the project is consistent with the town’s comprehensive plan.
“All we’re asking this evening is that you consider all the information you have received,” he said.
But residents said an apartment complex does not fit in their neighborhood.
“Many of us don’t believe there is a need for any more apartment complexes,” said Chris Aquiline of Heatherwood Drive.
Tom McCarthy of Breckenridge said he and many other residents have signs in their yards opposing the development, and a neighbor who is selling his house asked McCarthy to remove the sign during his open house.
“Was it because he could sell the house for more with the signs up? I don’t think so,” he said.
No decisions were made Wednesday night. The Planning Board must complete the environmental review process, which will include identifying the environmental impacts, and then deciding whether they are significant enough to require a full environmental impact study.
Planning Board Chairman Peter Reszka left the room before the public hearing and discussion on Sherwood Meadows started, and Deputy Town Attorney Cheryl McFadden-Zak read a statement saying he was recusing himself to avoid a conflict of interest. Reszka denies a conflict exists but decided to recuse himself anyway, she said.
Reszka read a letter at the board’s last meeting that criticized board members and questioned Reszka’s politics, and after he read it, Town Councilman Joseph Collins asked Reszka to recuse himself.
After planning consultant Drew Reilly said Wednesday night he had been asked by the supervisor to address the issues of process, zoning and the town’s comprehensive plan during the hearing, Collins said the supervisor’s action was “improper” and “further taints” the proceedings.