Weekly Feature



2017-12-27 / Front Page

Kulpa seeks to be ‘great implementor’

Oath of office set for Dec. 28
by KEATON T. DEPRIEST Associate Editor


Brian Kulpa will lead an all-Democrat Town Board as Amherst town supervisor. Kulpa has been mayor of Williamsville since 2011. 
Photo by David F. ShermanPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Brian Kulpa will lead an all-Democrat Town Board as Amherst town supervisor. Kulpa has been mayor of Williamsville since 2011. Photo by David F. ShermanPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com After six years as mayor of Williamsville, Brian Kulpa will be moving from representing the village to being the executive of the town.

The supervisor-elect, who will take the oath of office for his new post at noon, Thursday, Dec. 28, said he is enthusiastic about beginning his new endeavor as leader of Amherst.

In discussing one of the longstanding issues that has riled residents in the town, the supervisor-elect said the former Westwood Country Club, owned by Mensch Capital Partners, is better suited to be a park.

“Westwood is an opportunity to start planning a park,” Kulpa said. “When I say ‘park,’ I mean that there is an opportunity to create a wonderful green space that stretches all the way to Sheridan Drive from UB, envelops Westwood and Audubon and is really, for lack of a better analogy, the Delaware Park or Central Park of Amherst.”

Kulpa said doing so would strengthen property values in the area and garner more interest for businesses on Maple Road.


Details of Mensch Capital's rezoning plan for the Westwood property are available by clicking the below link to a recent Bee story about the proposed development.

http://www.amherstbee.com/news/2017-12-13/Front_Page/Town_believes_significant_impacts_still_not_avoide.html


“If it were a board that would be split about a rezoning, that’s one thing. But this board is not going to be split on a rezoning, and that means we need to find a new way to engage the developers. If we are going to build this world-class green space, I still need somebody to build it and I have to figure out what goes in it. We can talk about taking the clubhouse and turning it into a cultural center, and we’d need somebody to do that.”

Kulpa also discussed other goals, such as conducting a corridor analysis of certain areas of the town, including points nearest to the intersection of Niagara Falls Boulevard and Maple Road.

He said Niagara Falls Boulevard’s heavy traffic congestion has “given the neighborhoods flanking that area a bad name.”

The supervisor-elect added that large alterations to the town’s Comprehensive Plan are needed to allow a zoning code that would enhance Amherst’s neighborhoods.

He disliked what he termed the town’s previous “Band-Aid” type of approach to fixing the Comprehensive

Plan.

“There’s no uniformity because our neighborhoods aren’t the same,” Kulpa said. “Our business districts aren’t the same. At the end of the day, we need to rip it all up and get back to basics and look at it neighborhood by neighborhood. Let’s put together grassroots plans.”

His idea is for about eight hamlets and neighborhoods in town to be represented by their own six- or seven-person steering committee.

Each committee, he said, would be provided up to a year to “put together a vision of what they want their neighborhood to be.”

“You can’t ignore businesses, and you can’t ignore redevelopment patterns,” Kulpa said. “You have to take into account everything and tell me what your neighborhood wants. What’s your identity? If you don’t have one, let’s establish something.”

He said improving the town’s zoning and Comprehensive Plan begins with that “grassroots spirit” of getting the members of the community involved in the process.

A shareholder and member of the architecture, planning and engineering firm Clark Patterson Lee, Kulpa said he won’t be leaving the company, but his responsibilities will be restructured to allow him time to be a full-time supervisor. Staff will be added to the firm to allow for the adjustments.

Kulpa added that as mayor of Williamsville, he worked an average of 32 hours per week and he is prepared to dedicate himself full time to the position of supervisor.

The supervisor-elect said he is looking forward to his new role as well as working with the Town Board, which will consist of four fellow Democrats: Council Members Deborah Bruch Bucki, Francina Spoth and the newly elected Jacqualine Berger and Shawn Lavin.

“I plan to facilitate ideas and foster conversation,” he said. “I want to try to be a great implementor. At the end of the day, [the board] is going to go after those big issues. We will find ways to create better areas.”

He added that he wants people in the community to know that their government is not only working for them, but also working with them for the benefit of the town.

“If in the past people felt they were left out of any conversations, that ends now,” Kulpa said. “This is their opportunity to speak and say where we want Amherst to head.”

Additionally, Kulpa said that creating a proactive government model in Amherst will greatly enhance the town.

“We need to start collectively thinking about how to make the town the way we want it to be.”

Kulpa’s oath of office, which is open to the community, will be held in the Council Chambers at the Amherst Municipal Building, 5583 Main St., Williamsville.

He will preside at his first Town Board meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 2, in the Council Chambers. The session is the board’s annual reorganizational meeting.

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