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Amherst weighs complex development plans

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

A complicated plan involving land purchases and sales, development of current park land and potentially a new state park took its first baby step Monday night before the Amherst Town Board.

Developers who want to turn the old Westwood Country Club into a $238 million project are stalled because the Town Board says the proposed draft environmental impact study isn't complete and won't approve the study, which would open it to the public for comment. The land plan includes purchasing the Westwood site.

Councilman Mark Manna says there are at least ten more steps before a final approval and they include action in Albany and a development group selling a former golf course it plans to develop.

Mary Shapiro told the board it's being pushed too hard.

"No public planning process has occurred to determine the appropriate needs or desires of the town for additional land for recreational use or for the loss of recreational land for development," Shapiro said.

"This general resolution is meaningless and pretends that correct process which includes appropriate public disclosure can be circumvented by simple resolution."

The first major problem piece may be discussed at a special board meeting December 28.

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.