Weekly Feature



2017-01-25 / Editorial

Study emphasizes town’s needs, potential for future growth

BARRY WEINSTEIN
Town Supervisor

Office development nationwide is undergoing change. Amherst is seeing it as well with a softening office marketplace, which the town needs to address. Younger people entering the workforce are looking for more vibrant, urban and walkable environments.

Our large office parks are less attractive to them, and vacancies are popping up there and in older, isolated office buildings. Delta Associates of Washington, D.C., completed an office study funded jointly by the Amherst Industrial Development Agency and the town. The firm reported its findings, predictions and recommendations to the Town Board and the community at the end of 2016.

Its conclusions and recommendations:

1. Corporate office demand in Amherst will be primarily geared toward back office users.

2. The preferred patterns of development will differ by location within Amherst.

3. The town needs to take a more holistic look at its economic development activities.

4. The town needs to retool its incentives to focus on the renovation and/or redevelopment of underutilized sites and buildings, rather than on promoting new greenfield development.

5. Remaking older business parks will require allowing higher density and mixed-use development.

6. The town should consider holding public planning meetings to discuss the redevelopment of key sites. 7. The Town of Amherst must improve its relationship with the business and economic development community.

8. The town must do a better job of tapping the economic development potential of the University at Buffalo.

9. The transportation network in

Amherst is an impediment to its economic vitality.

10. Major public facilities and amenities should be incorporated into redevelopment projects.

No. 4, underutilized sites, needs to be re-emphasized, and this has been communicated to the Amherst IDA. No. 5 , remaking older business parks, requires changes to the town’s philosophy and zoning regulations, which the Planning Department would lead.

No. 7, relationships, is tricky. If the business and economic development community thinks that Amherst is difficult to work with and a segment of the residential community thinks that Amherst gives the business and development community too much, then there is a very narrow line to please everyone.

The Delta Associates study dated Nov. 9, 2016, is on the town’s website.

If you have any questions, please contact me at 631-7032, by email at bweinstein@amherst.ny.us, or by letter at the Municipal Building, 5583 Main St. Williamsville, NY 14221.

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