Do any of the 126,082 residents of Amherst really care …

06-17-2019 image of the 93 acres alienated at Audubon

The Town of Amherst has already sold off 15± acres of the Audubon Recreational Complex to UBMD / Bone&Guts LLC / Audubon Park MOB LLC during a COVID-19 pandemic with almost no explanation on how the UBMD part of the deal began and evolved (who offered what to who first), and

where public participation was actively discouraged,

where important parkland alienation related resolutions were placed on agendas at the last minute in suspension of the rules,

where the Supervisor sold his own vision extensively in the public media, radio stations, newspapers, TV stations,

where his messy, huge, wandering, and semi-incoherent Power Point presentations seemed to promise everything to everyone, and

where these same Power Point presentations produced so much sensory overload that they confused his audience more than informed them.

Does anyone really care about the details of  this potentially HUGE deal between the Town of Amherst  and the Mensch Capital Partners?

Does anyone really care about how much of the Audubon Recreational Complex,  currently a recreational green space, is acquired by the commercial developer in exchange for the Westwood property?

Does anyone really care how the land that Amherst “sells” at the Audubon Recreational Complex will be developed?

Does anyone really care how the land that Amherst “buys” at Westwood will be developed?

Does anyone really care how this deal will impact ALL of the residents of Amherst?

Does anyone really care about any potential current and long term financial impacts to the Town of Amherst from this deal?

Does anyone really care how this deal changes the future use of recreational green space in Amherst?

Does anyone really care how this deal could accelerate the commercialization of Maple Road?

Does anyone really care that our Supervisor and Town Board seemingly are content to make this ENTIRE deal within our virtual Town Hall with a minimum of two-way public participation and information sharing, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Does anyone really care that our elected representatives are very dismissive of allowing active and ongoing public participation in the process of putting together the details of this deal?

Does anyone really care that that our elected representatives do not treat the public as valued stakeholders and partners in this deal, but just as “customers” or “disinterested observers”?

There are many many more important questions that need to be asked of the Supervisor and Town Board members that if the past is a guide, will never be answered by them. Does anyone really care?

9 Responses to “Do any of the 126,082 residents of Amherst really care …”

  1. Harold Barlow says:

    It seems as though we keep forgetting that most of the comments related to Audubon keep forgetting that, ultimately, the Town would be getting all 170 acres of Westwood in exchange for this development at Audubon.

    If I read the MOU correctly, the Town would swap 50-odd acres at Audubon for ALL of Westwood, which is what the Judy Fs of the world have always wanted.

    Did we really expect a private property owner to just donate their land as greenspace for nothing? That’s the same as me demanding that my next door neighbor donate their backyard so that I can enjoy it?

    If the value of 3 acres of Westwood equals 1 acre at Audubon, a swap of 170 acres for 52.8 acres is pretty close. I’ll be the first to admit that the contaminated land at Westwood may reduce the value, but let’s also admit that the same neighbors who are demanding Westwood for nothing area also the same who refused to acknowledge that there was contamination at Westwood when the Mensch guys put a fence around there. Some of the same neighbors disputed whether or not there was contamination there when Westwood was going through the approval process.

    Regarding the changes that would come from converting Westwood to open space and Audubon to a mix of recreation uses and commercial space, my understanding is that the environmental process that the Town is starting is intended to determine that. If this whole process to create Amherst Central Park and turn the keys over to Westwood to Judy is a marathon, we’re at about mile 4 or 5.

    One other gripe – why are we worried about the commercialization of Maple Road? It’s built as two lanes in each direction and is one of the major east-west roads in the Town. Shouldn’t it be commercial in nature? It doesn’t make any sense to have residential homes on a street that is built with two lanes in each direction.

  2. Frank says:

    Reading the statements and question put forth in this entry nails the crux of the problem with the Westwood and Audubon swap.
    Everyone should educate themselves on facts before going off in a tangent.

    Poloncarz in defense of Szukala’s overtime pay at the County level stated that he is “proud of the effort—put forth during a period
    of time when the region needed experienced leadership and responsive government action.” Speeding through the Audubon swap
    with Westwood, during this same period, out of the public eye, does not evoke attributes of leadership and responsive government action.”
    In fact, the opposite is the truth of the matter, unless the “government action” is to serve special interest only.

  3. Carl says:

    Szukala, the one of the IDA, that rubber stamped everything that once came before him. WTH, this guy works for Poloncarz for $120,000? And, is the same guy on the Amherst Town Board working for the developers during a pandemic? Explains a lot. Red flags all over the field. It is iincestuous and corrupt. The idea that we, of the great unwashed paid for all these people to take advantage of a crisis. Greed and abuse of power, beyond redemption. Amherst deserves better.

    AmherstTimes: Please do not cut and paste copyrighted material from other sources into your comments, provide a link we can check.

    See Buffalo News story 7/28: https://buffalonews.com/news/local/sheriffs-office-used-covid-19-money-to-help-cover-overtime-for-protests/article_dc94dbc0-cf7c-11ea-92e1-cfd8da2c037e.html

  4. Maria says:

    What has been revealed in this post and scrolling through the others is the first I’m hearing, of what out has been going on and continues to.

    Kulpa and company are the “gamblers” gambling away our parkland, one chip at a time. Leaving residents with more development that endangers their environment and every living creature in it. All of it not needed nor wanted by the community. Certainly not now and not on parkland.

    Gov. Cuomo due to the $30 billion deficit cannot bond a $3 billion environmental bond to “Restore Mother Nature.” The purpose was to “preserve, enhance and restore New York’s natural resources.” Meanwhile, Amherst “leaders” are selling off 93 acres of one of Amherst’s valued natural resources. And, doing it behind closed doors, during a pandemic. without the public being properly informed making it impossible for them to partake.

    Given the litany of statements and the questions asked above, it is clear, Amherst is being sold out and using perverse methods to get the job done for Ciminelli, Hamister and whoever else is involved in this fraudulent deal.

    Kenny Rogers called it. The Town Gamblers are either corrupt themselves or too stupid to know how to play the game.

  5. Don Lukas says:

    Kulpa is just way in over his head. You are so right about those power point presentation, I watched them on the town website, my god it was like a used car salesmen offering and promising everything as he makes you sign the contract before you can review it. What a con job

  6. COVID Resolution says:

    WHEREAS the Amherst Town Board is seemingly oblivious to hardships ordinary people are going through to adapt to the effects of the Covid pandemic.

    WHEREAS the Amherst Town Board has remained unscathed because ordinary people are paying their salaries allowing them to continue working on Mensch’s agenda.

    WHEREAS Mensch’s Ciminelli partner finagled UBMD’s gargantuan office building and hotel with 1000 cars running through a neighborhood and destroying ball fields.

    WHEREAS an Excelsior on steroids, aka UBMD, built on North Maplemere with parking for 1000 cars is detrimental to the welfare of people living or traveling in the area.

    WHEREAS the Amherst Traffic Safety Board and the ZBA are also baffled as to why something of this magnitude is being fast-tracked, at this particular time, at this particular location, because it does not belong.

    WHEREAS anyone, paying any attention, knows hotels, nursing homes, office spaces, retail, restaurants are not in demand, in fact, many existing ones are sinking financially, closing or going bankrupt.

    WHEREAS it is nonsensical to be permitting any developer to build any more of such properties, without knowing the results of the pandemic. And, certainly not sacrificing the people’s parkland to do so.

    WHEREAS much of UBMD and the rest of the Audubon development is being left out of the public realm except for the Kulpa-rainbows-and-unicorns power points.

    WHEREAS the Town Board is spending wildly and irresponsibly on new hires and endless promises.

    WHEREAS the taxpayers will be obliged to foot the bill for such grandiose expenditures while simultaneously watching their own money dwindle or disappear.

    WHEREAS the public has witnessed how our elected officials have reacted to a crisis by using it as an opportunity to foist inappropriate development on its citizens.

    WHEREAS the public has now witnessed how dangerous and detrimental a one-party-rule system operates.

    THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED to take up the issue at the ballot box and vote for another party. Hopefully, to acquire a voice for the people, not more shills for cronies and developers.

    “Residents of Amherst do really care.”

  7. Phil says:

    Failure to Disclose

    A CoVid breakout in Eden but the Erie County Health Commissioner refuses to tell the local authorities where it is.

    A shooting incident at a Flint Road motel but the Amherst Police refuses to release which motel.

    Who are the authorities protecting – business or the people they swore to protect? I live close to Flint Road and my out of town guests use several of those motels on Flint Road; I’d like to know where the shooting occurred.

    On one hand we have the Amherst Bee “Police Blotter” which trivializes crime in the area as well as the callers who report it but when a real shooting occurs they clam up.

    My 2 points:

    1. Don’t try to manage the public’s perception of what is dangerous and what isn’t. We get too much of that already from Washington. Tell us the full extent of what is going on and we’ll make the decision – we’re adults, not cattle.

    2. If you’re going to the trouble of printing a crime column don’t humorize it. It would be great to have a column reporting home break-ins, hot spots where car thefts are occurring, locations were credit card skimming is frequent, robberies, and let us know where a shooting occurred. That would be a real public service rather than asking all of us to whistle down a dark alley.

  8. Richard says:

    The only ones that really really want this to go thru is the Town Board (increased tax revenues needed because of the Supervisor hiring so many political pukes) and the Williamsville School District (increase in School Taxes – Martzloff and Kulpa are from the same mold of spend spend spend, pay it off with tax increases).

    The bottom line is the swap is not needed.

  9. DITTO COVID RESOLUTION says:

    WHEREAS everything stated in the “Covid Resolution” is what our elected leaders chose to do with their time and our money, and is an egregious abuse of power.

    “THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED to take up the issue at the ballot box and vote for another party. Hopefully, to acquire a voice for the people, not more shills for cronies and developers”

    We can start with the Assembly and Senate, in November.

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