Lifting stop-work order in Amherst was wrong

The Amherst Building Department has lifted the stop-work order issued to Sacred Heart Academy. The order was imposed by the elected Town Board on Nov. 4 with a 4-2 vote.

The required parking plan was approved in February and contained phrases such as “undesignated spaces,” revoke on “30 days’ notice” and “first come, first served.” These removed the permanence required.

Sacred Heart is not building a little gym for its students. It is building a mammoth double gym with over 400 visitor seats. This complex is to be used for tournaments and large social events throughout the year, including weekends.

Sacred Heart has never solved its lack of parking spaces. Presently it uses its neighbor’s lot to park over 100 student and faculty cars daily. KeyBank is leasing this building and lot with 567 spaces. It allows the use for free. But if the building is sold, future parking for Sacred Heart is unknown.

A required 807 spaces was reduced to 167. It is these 167 cars that the school cannot park on land that it owns or shares, with permanence, to prevent parking problems. The Amherst Building Department issued building permits anyway in April.

The Town Board sent a notice to Sacred Heart requesting a plan that conformed to code. After seven weeks and no change, the stop-work order was issued. Yet on Nov. 8, the Building Department lifted the order without the board’s approval and accepted a document that contains “undesignated spaces,” revoke on “30 days’ notice” and “first come, first served.”

Kenneth V. Tunnah

Crosby Neighbors Group