AMHERST, NY - The Amherst Town Board voted 5-1 Monday night to reject a resolution that would have called for a temporary moratorium on all new commercial buildings taller than 50 feet.
Board Member Mark Manna proposed the resolution in direct response to a large hotel to be built in Snyder right by the 290 at Main Street.
The Hyatt Place hotel, to be built by Iskalo Development, would be 6 stories tall and go right behind the current Lord Amherst Hotel. That's just across a pond from a residential area, where residents thought a deed restriction from decades ago prohibited any building higher than two stories. However, the Amherst Zoning Board of Appeals ruled last year that the restriction was no longer in effect.
Ever since, people who live in that neighborhood have fought to stop the project that they believe would destroy their quality of life.
"Smart growth is the way to go," Manna said before the meeting. "This (project), I don't believe, is smart growth."
Board members argued over the merits of Manna's proposal. Manna, the only Democrat on the board, is often at odds with his fellow members.
"You're playing into concerns and fears that I think that are just unfair to those involved," Board Member Steven Sanders said to Manna.
Board Member Barbara Nuchereno, who provided the second needed to consider the resolution, decided to vote no.
"This is not the solution," Nuchereno said. "I think the moratorium is irresponsible."
Manna fired back, claiming his fellow members were supporting business over residents.
"What I'm hearing is it's not that they can't help you," Manna said. "It's that they won't help you."
Manna was the only "yes" vote.
With the loss before the board, the neighbors trying to block the hotel now put their hopes back before the Amherst Zoning Board of Appeals, which Tuesday will consider nine different variances requested by the developer.
Without approval of the variances, it's believed the project could be delayed or halted entirely.
A representative of Iskalo Development declined to comment Monday, saying they will make their case before the Zoning Board of Appeals on Tuesday.