Weekly Feature



2017-05-17 / Front Page

Public input, discussion sought for ImagineAmherst events

by KEATON T. DEPRIEST Associate Editor

ImagineAmherst, a project to improve commercial centers and reduce their negative impacts on surrounding communities, will offer two public comment and discussion events to discuss draft amendments to the town’s Comprehensive Plan.

Public information meetings regarding the project will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 17, in the cafeteria at Transit Middle School, 8730 Transit Road, and at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 23, in the library at Amherst Middle School, 55 Kings Highway.

The goal of the overall project, according to town officials, is to uncover the community’s future vision for existing commercial centers.

According to Eric Gillert, town planning director, currently the commercial and mixed-use centers are not differentiated by their form, location and neighborhood context.

He said that sometimes the development in these centers does not fit in with the surrounding context. New typologies or categories for the centers are being proposed in order to distinguish how each one should develop in the future.

“We need to make sure the proposed typologies are correctly described, and if so, that each of the centers are designated correctly on the new map, and we’d like to give the public another opportunity to voice their input,” Gillert said.

He said at both meetings, the public will hear a short presentation on the process of the project thus far and learn about the Comprehensive Plan amendments.

In addition, maps will be available for the public to make notes and view. Town Planning Department staff will also be present to answer questions and hold discussions with residents.

According to town officials, during the past few months, the committees have studied the town’s commercial and mixed-use areas and developed recommendations to better distinguish them by their form, location and neighborhood context.

In 2016, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority provided $161,000 toward the project through Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Cleaner, Greener Communities program, a major statewide initiative that encourages communities to incorporate sustainability goals and principles into local decision-making and then form partnerships to transform markets to reduce emissions and generate economic development.

For more information about ImagineAmherst, including details about the amendments, visit www.ImagineAmherst.com, or follow the project on social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook to solicit feedback and comments from the public.

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