Weekly Feature

2008-05-07 / Local News

Benderson agrees to modifications for Town Centre proposal

by JESSICA L. FINCH Associate Editor

Standing on more than 60 years of shell casings and pieces of clay pigeons, a representative of Benderson Development said the company would limit the size of retail structures in its proposed Town Centre project.

The announcement was made Thursday on the site of the former Buffalo Shooting Club on Maple Road.

"This newly revised design addresses many of the concerns raised throughout this process," said Eric Recoon, vice president of development and leasing for Benderson. "We have taken this a step further by agreeing to legally binding deed restrictions and conditions of development to ensure that we will not deviate from this plan."

Recoon said GB-General Business is admittedly a broad classification, often connected with "big box" developments.

"We've agreed to safeguard, protect the community," he said. "The deed restriction will limit the size, height and use of the buildings. The largest will be 50,000 square feet."

He added that Benderson has agreed to conditions of development, which address architectural design, signage and traffic.

In the updated design, 13 percent of the site would be green space, open to the public for recreational purposes.

While a group of adjacent homeowners are opposing the project, two who are not spoke at the press conference: Stephen Hunt, of Hunt Commercial Real Estate, and Robert Simmons, a former member of the Planning Board.

Hunt said he is thrilled about the project and believes the added traffic signals will slow down Maple Road traffic, which exceeds 50-60 mph in 40-45-mph zones.

"This is a world class project," he said.

Simmons said he has lived on Maple Road since 1962 and watched it grow from a two-lane country road to a five-lane super highway.

"It is time to move on; we need something different here," he said about the site. "We need the type of neighborhood where people can walk to (facilities)."

Benderson also released the results of a survey by Barry Zeplowitz and Associates that revealed the majority of town residents support the project - 58 to 26 percent, Recoon said.

He added that when those taking the survey were informed of the 13 percent green space agreement, that approval increased to 71 percent.

"The bottom line is that if we aren't allowed to build the Town Centre, another project will be constructed that will generate little to no real estate tax benefit but will undoubtedly create many of the impacts that are feared by those opposed to our project."

The vote on the request for rezoning to allow the Town Centre is planned for 7 p.m. Monday, June 2, at Town Hall, 5583 Main St., Williamsville.

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