Weekly Feature

2017-04-20 / Editorials

No easy solution for Hamlin Avenue property

On Tuesday, the East Aurora Village Planning Commission voted unanimously to move forward with a recommendation to the Village Board on rezoning a property on Hamlin Avenue from Residential to Residential Group-New Townhouse.

The new property would accommodate an apartment complex, and developers say the rent would range from $1,500 to $1,900 a month. For many residents, this is a major blow to their quaint, quiet village life.

Look at it from the point of view of the neighbors: Their little street, which already sees a good amount of traffic because of its proximity to a school, is in danger of seeing even more traffic. It’s not just one family moving into the neighborhood; it’s a bunch of different people.

This apartment complex is going to be surrounded by homes, one of which once sat on the property of Cicero Hamlin, a businessman who helped improve the village. Then, there’s the fear that the developers will walk away from this project, or worse, perhaps go back on everything they promised. The residents’ fear isn’t coming from a place of hatred toward others. It’s coming from a fear of the unknown, a fear of what may happen to this beautiful area.

On the flip side, you can’t look at the property, which currently holds a dilapidated bus garage, and say it should stay the same. It’s an eyesore that developers have ignored for years, partially due to the cost of cleaning up the site. Without funding to clean it up, anyone looking to build on the land would probably spend more money than it’s worth. A playground wouldn’t make sense, as Parkdale Elementary is just around the corner. Another business is pointless, as it would increase traffic. So what to do with this piece of land? Keep it the way it is, with a building that looks more suited to the East Side of Buffalo than the Village of East Aurora? Or clean it up and build housing?

In an ideal world, a developer with unlimited funds would come in, clean the property up and build a quaint little home that a family could move into. That’s not happening any time soon. This apartment complex might be the best option.

What we have to remember is this isn’t a sure thing. The Village Board still needs to vote to rezone the property, and even then there are more steps that need to be taken before any shovels hit the ground. To those opposed and upset about this decision, make your voices heard. Come to meetings, write to local leaders, and make it clear that you don’t support this rezoning.

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