Weekly Feature

2018-09-12 / Front Page

Town Board approves request for abandonment

by ANNA DEROSA Associate Editor

At the Sept. 4 Amherst Town Board meeting, the board approved a request to abandon the approximately 0.19 acre of property located on Amsterdam Avenue, which is part of a proposed project for affordable senior housing.

The total development project site includes five separate parcels that comprise a total of 1.51 acres, including the portion of the Amsterdam Avenue right of way that was approved for abandonment, according to Brad Packard, director of housing development at Belmont Housing Resources for WNY, Inc.

At the meeting, Packard and attorney Sean Hopkins displayed a PowerPoint presentation detailing the request and proposed project.

Hopkins said the project will come back in front of the board in the future — hopefully in early October — in connection with a pending request to rezone the overall site from General Business District to Multifamily Residential District Seven.

In August, the Planning Board held a public hearing for the request to rezone the site and issued a positive recommendation by a unanimous vote. The applicable properties that are the subject of the rezoning application are as follows:

• 46, 52, 64 and 70 Amsterdam Ave.

• 545 Alberta Drive

• 0.19 acre of existing Amsterdam Avenue (to be abandoned)

According to Packard, the portion of the right of way approved for abandonment is directly contiguous with 70 Amsterdam Ave.

In terms of the abandonment, Town Supervisor Brian Kulpa noted that it’s a multifaceted transaction, including a property transfer that’s publicly owned, and then separately, that the town owns a right of way.

“By abandonment, we’re allowing for the property conveyance to Belmont [Housing Resources for WNY Inc.], which would basically consolidate the parcel so Belmont would consolidate their parcel with that piece of land that is currently right of way,” Kulpa said.

The overall site for the project includes commercial plazas to the north and multifamily to the south, with businesses such as Wegmans, Ashley Furniture and the Boulevard Mall.

Since these businesses are in close proximity, Hopkins noted that the site is an excellent candidate for an affordable senior housing project.

According to Hopkins, the building itself, which would be subject to a separate public hearing, would consist of 46 affordable apartment units for seniors. The project would include driveways, sidewalks and stormwater management improvements.

“We are currently planning to partially fund this project with proceeds through the New York State Homes & Community Renewal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program,” Packard said. “This project funding will require that the apartment units be affordably priced for low- to moderate-income residents within the primary market area surrounding the project site.

“While we have not yet finalized the proposed unit mix and rent affordability plan, we typically target households and individuals who have total income that is either at or below 50 percent of the area median income.”

According to Packard:

• A one-bedroom unit with one occupant, assuming no more than 30 percent of total income was applied to housing costs, would yield an approximate monthly rent of $660 based on current AMI figures.

• A two-bedroom unit with two occupants, assuming no more than 30 percent of total income was applied to housing costs, would yield an approximate monthly rent of $750 based on current AMI figures.

Packard also noted that these figures are subject to change as the project planning process moves forward and they begin to work with funding agencies to finalize a rental and leasing plan for the project.

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