The Amherst Town Board is missing.
Cowering behind the Zoning Board and soon the Planning Board, our elected leaders have been both silent and absent from the very public discussion on the massive Hyatt hotel Iskalo Development continues to muscle through the approval process in Town Hall. In callous disregard to the neighborhood and community, the Zoning Board swiftly rubber stamped all of Iskalos variance requests for the Hyatt with less discussion than afforded the topic of raising chickens in Eggertsville. Despite passionate pleas from the Towns citizens, the Zoning Board, agents of the Town and acting on behalf of the Town Board, gave new meaning to the terms lip service, deaf ear and fast track. Truly, the RED shirt clad neighbors, sat in stunned silence, at the caviler manner in which the Board, swiftly and without discussion or reasoning, ruled in favor of Iskalo. Nine times. Nine variances. All approved with little or no discussion. After midnight this past Tuesday.
This was a huge Iskalo victory and another sad chapter is the sad story of commercial development in Amherst.
The neighbors are not opposed to development of this site. But maintain that the massive Hyatt is out of scale with the area and too intrusive a use to be allowed so close to the residential area. Something similar in scale and design to Snyder Square would be appropriate or even another hotel like the Lord Amherst. Further, the neighbors were not asking for special treatment, rather, had pressed for a fair hearing and a discussion of this project and its alternatives. We got neither. We were swatted away by the Zoning Board while the Town Board members, lacking the courage to chime in, either for or against this project, are hiding in a corner somewhere, hoping that the Hyatt will be underway and forgotten by Town voters, well in advance of Town elections this November. Good luck with that.
Let there be no mistake that the actions by the Zoning Board reflect the consensus decision of our elected leaders on the Town Board. The Zoning Board just happened to be acting in their stead. It is convenient for the Town Board to say that this was not their vote, and while technically correct, that’s not the reality and we all know that. We are not fooled. So where are they? Where is the Town Board? Has anyone heard a peep?
The Amherst Town Board is missing.
So, to my neighbors in Williamsville, heads up and take notice of the Mill. That’s Iskalo. And Main and Garrison. That’s Iskalo. Look at all the other Iskalo owned property in the Village. There are quite a few. Brace yourself. And good luck with that.
And to Paul Iskalo.
You did fine work at the ElectricTower and we thank you. That project, alone, may have earned you a spot in local history, perhaps alongside Rocco Termini who will be long remembered with great affection for spearheading housing redevelopment in downtown Buffalo. But the Hyatt, if you go forward, will earn you a place in the Hall of Shame, ensconced forever alongside other egregious development mistakes made here. The Bills stadium in OrchardPark. UB in Amherst. The Hyatt will be your legacy and an indelible black mark on your reputation and corporate resume. You will be embarrassed and ashamed of yourself when your children and your grandchildren ask ..”How did you do that? What were you thinking? And why??
The Iskalo Hyatt is on the Amherst Town Planning Board agenda in March.
Michele F. Marconi
FRIENDS OF MIKES POND