Update: Cars Stored at Westwood Country Club

The following was posted on the Nextdoor Village of Williamsville site by David Kowal of Snyder:

Northtown Automotive is applying to the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) to make this car storage legal. The ZBA can deny the permit and the cars will need to be removed.  The ZBA can grant a permit for any time period up to 2 years.  At the end of that time it can be renewed.

This is the first item on the ZBA agenda for Tuesday, Dec 19, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. at Amherst Town Hall in the room labeled as Council Chambers.  Anyone from the public is allowed to comment.  There is a 3 minute time limit per person.

I assume that everyone who objected in this comment stream will be at that meeting.
In response to this post Jon Dibulgio wrote:

Couple things.

1.) Dealers are allocated a certain number of cars and must buy a set amount in order to keep business franchises. After the economy crashed the automakers changed the way they did business. They require franchises to be liquid and that’s why you see all the smaller dealerships got swallowed up by larger groups. If they don’t buy more cars then they need, they simply won’t have them.

2.) I don’t care what they do with the property and neither should you. If you’re that concerned about it, buy it yourself. The town should not buy this property and people shouldn’t look towards them for a bailout.
Michele Marconi added this statement:

The cars are at Westwood apparently to address a parking crunch near Dent Tower. this is to be solved in the long term by the demolition of the building at the temple site behind Northtown. In the meantime, excess new car inventory is being parked at WW to allow the Dent staff to park at Northtown. The WW owners do not have a permit to do this. And only the ZBA can grant a temporary non conforming use permit.

Town officials have allowed this on verbal approval as SOP. Perhaps its reasonable for the ZBA to approve this illegal use (already happening since 2015 (well in excess of the typical 2 yr duration) for a year maybe in exchange for the removal of the spite fence and the contamination signs placed there by the owner. OR deny it outright and let the Dent owners shuttle their staff to the site from other offsite parking.
Valerie Priester added this:

The town does not have an overabundance of parks – it has a shortage of parks, and crappy ones at that. Bassett is for “pastoral” use only, so can’t have any activities there other than wandering on foot and the occasional concert. Island park is a village park, unavailable to residents outside the village of Williamsville. That just leave a handful of pocket parks with athletic fields – Paradise, for instance, and Clearfield rec. center – and Billy Wilson III park (wetlands with trail and a handicap playground), and the bike paths. Yes, Amherst State Park is huge, but there are always unleashed dogs there so I never go.

Compare that to some parks in nearby towns – Clarence Town Park is huge, and has a cabin. Cheektowaga has Cheektowaga Town Park and Stiglmeier park that are both huge and offer numerous picnic areas. Where can a family picnic in Amherst? Nowhere. Then there’s the income that could be generated. Town of Tonawanda has the NOCO pavilion which is rented a lot for everything from showers to family parties to Christmas parties. Same for the City of Tonawanda’s pavilion in Niawanda Park. What if the Westwood property was turned into a place with rentable picnic shelters (not everyone in Amherst has a yard, there are a lot of apartments and condos), rent out the country club building for large events (my family lives in Amherst but we are renting the NOCO pavilion in Tonawanda for a holiday party…), and still have room for hiking paths or baseball diamonds or something. No new sewer expenses would be needed. The brownfield contamination is really surface soil from all the years of golf course chemicals. It’s not as expensive as Mensch is making it seem. Used right, turning Westwood into a park could actually generate income rather than drain money from the town.
Jon Dibulgio added:  Amherst is not in the business of making money, it’s in the business of spending taxpayers so they could ask for more. Look at what happened at the dump, town ran it for years and it bled money. Krantz takes over and he’s made money every year since and has stated that he can’t figure out why they never profited.

5 Responses to “Update: Cars Stored at Westwood Country Club”

  1. Jake says:

    Wait a minute. The cars have been parked there for three years or close to it. Shouldn’t they have applied for a renewal last year? Why are they applying now when the permit has not expired? Or, did they not get a permit at all because they’re “special” and not subject to the same rules and laws as the rest of us..

    Why now? A new board that will not tolerate the I’m-better-smarter-than-you mentality?

  2. John Snyder says:

    Jon Dibulgio, you are right on! The town should never buy the Westwood property. Townhouses and patio homes much like Hampton Hill should be built. Demand is high for this type of quality development and the location is perfect. It would increase our tax base to the benefit of all town residents.

    Amherst or any public entity should never buy the Westwood property except maybe the western most slice to provide a north/south roadway between Sheridan Drive and Maple Road.

  3. Chris says:

    Is it even legal to run a car storage business on RC zoning? Why has our crack planning and building depts, lawyers and ZBA turned a blind eye to this eyesore, in the center of the town, for almost three years? It’s not like you can’t see them through the spite fence. It’s not like the rest of us would be able to pull off something like this. Has anyone tried deviating from code on their property without going through hell and being denied anyway? The Westwood boys should be no different that the rest of us. They are not entitled to anything. They had almost three years? Move the cars, remove the fence or both. Enough of crapping up neighborhoods for profit and spite.

    The greatest sewer problem in Amherst emanates from town hall. Amherst just voted for change because “Amherst Deserves Better.”

  4. walt says:

    I believe when the Town first allowed the parking of cars on this property, it was zoned CF. The former Commissioner of Building determined that it was permitted use. Since then, the TB rezoned this property to RC. The new Commissioner of Building I believe may have determined that a Temporary Use Permit must be obtained. Maybe Mr. Tricoli should look into this.

  5. Jake says:

    RC zoning was adopted in July, 2014. Remember all the publicity? Parking was allowed on RC zoned property in January, 2015. “Maybe Mr. Tricoli should look into this.” He’s good at exposing abuses in the system.