The Westwood Country Club in Amherst has been abandoned for years. Minus a few deer, the fenced off area is really only used to park unused cars.
Mensch Capital Partners LLC is looking to change that. They’re planning to develop a 140 acre mixed-use neighborhood.
“To be honest, this is probably the most significant single parcel development since the development of the University (of Buffalo). You're talking about, what will likely be, a quarter of billion dollars of economic investment,” said Andrew Shaevel about the Amhest project. Shaevel is a managing partner with Mensch.
Residents nearby Westwood have had problems with the plans even since they were proposed.
Whether it be traffic, drainage, green space, there's a long list. That list very much includes the heavy metal contaminates found in the golf course soil. Shaevel says it could cost upwards of $8 million to remove the top soil.
Thursday night, the developer released a new master plan. They’re trying to appease neighbors and the town planning board, which still hasn't given the proposal their blessing.
“I think many times developers are criticized for not listening. I think we've demonstrated that we've listened and we've responded in kind,” said Shaevel.
Neighbors of the old golf course say developers are just shuffling the same problems into a different place.
“This plan is no different than any of the others, it's just too intense,” said Judy Ferraro of Amherst.
“They haven't made any improvements at all. They still have these large development areas. And they keep saying there’s 50% green space, but these are just green patches against large scale development areas,” said Jennifer Snyder-Haas of Amhest.
The Amherst Planning Board says they need additional studies from the developers before they make a decision. They plan to decide on the project during their March meeting.
No matter if the Amherst Planning Board decides to approve or deny the plan, the final say will be up to the town board.
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