Weekly Feature

2016-06-08 / Letters to the Editor

Developing Westwood would benefit taxpayers

In a recent Bee letter to the editor, the writer opines that “having the Westwood property deemed as brownfields is a scare tactic.”

It is important that the public understands that this is not a scare tactic but a legitimate public health issue.

The facts are as follows:

Mensch Capital Partners, owners of the Westwood site, did not determine the property to be a brownfield.

Soil tests required by the Erie County Department of Health revealed that the Westwood site contains levels of contaminants such as arsenic, lead and mercury that are above acceptable levels for active or passive recreational use.

These standards were not established by Mensch, but rather by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The DEC then accepted the site into its Brownfield Remediation Program based on the results of the soil tests.

The DEC will approve the remediation plan for the site, monitor the cleanup, and ultimately certify that the site is safe for housing, commercial development and a public park.

These are stubborn facts, but they are the facts regarding the Westwood property. Suggesting that designating the Westwood site a brownfield is “a scare tactic” is not in the best interest of the public’s health, and it certainly does not help to advance the debate about the future of this important property.

The writer further claims that “building more houses and storefronts does not lower taxes.”

An independent economic study by the respected Center for Government Research concluded that this project would generate up to $55 million in new taxes for the county, town and fire district, far above the cost of providing any additional services.

The biggest beneficiary of this revenue would be the Williamsville Central Schools, which would receive over $38 million. Amherst taxpayers will definitely benefit from developing the Westwood site.

Andrew J. Shaevel
Managing Partner
Mensch Capital
Partners, LLC

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