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Amherst residents were never really in the fight

The battle is over. The well-heeled developer has prevailed. And yet another Amherst neighborhood is doomed to live in the shadow of an inappropriately sited commercial building.

It was never a fair fight. We, the neighbors, just didn’t know it. Because the Amherst Town Board and staff worked for over one year, outside the public eye, dotting their i’s and crossing their t’s, planning, orchestrating and expediting the monster project’s quick approval and papering over the hotel’s warts.

Despite a large group of residents in opposition, the neighbors were never really in the fight. The town development process is sharply skewed in favor of the developer, in law and procedures the developers themselves helped create. Most devastating is the short notice given to neighbors to read, understand, digest and respond to a literal truckload of documents and studies describing a project that will change the neighborhood forever. The actions of the Zoning, Planning and Town boards give new meaning to blind eye, deaf ear, lip service and rubber stamp as the neighbors were flicked aside.

The Iskalo Hyatt never passed the smell test. And we knew early on that this was a political problem. The court has ruled in favor of Iskalo, proving that you can’t fight city hall. Well, you can fight, you just can’t win.

The only solace on this sad day in Snyder is that Amherst has the best officials and staff that money can buy. Therefore, the next time you see Paul Iskalo, ask him how the big commercial development is going in his family’s Clarence backyard.

This battle is over, perhaps.

Michele F. Marconi

Friends Of Mike’s Pond, Amherst