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Amherst working to outlaw off-campus fraternities

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

If UB students want to have fraternities and sororities, they may need to hold them on campus. The Amherst Planning Board last night voted to change town zoning laws to essentially bar off-campus fraternities and sororities.

The recommendation now goes to the Town Board which will have to hold a public hearing if it wants to change the zoning rules. That might take up to three months to go through the process and the schedule.

"This will modify where fraternities and sororities are permitted in this town," said Assistant Planning Director Gary Black.

"Currently, they are allowed in any multi-family district, so any apartments, condominium district. This proposal moves them into what's called the community facilities district, which is the district that permits schools, universities and colleges."

Black says this process started with reports of an outside developer looking at a private fraternity row and after checking town zoning rules, the decision was made to change them. Having the groups on-campus means university rules would directly control them, something more limited when off-campus.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.