Williamsville residents express concerns about land swap proposal

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB) — Neighbors that live near South Long Park could see as many as 120 new apartment units and town houses in the new future.

It’s part of a housing development set forth by Natale Development.

Last year, Williamsville residents were not in favor of the proposal and wanted to be part of a public input process.

Now, residents are part of the development process, but this time, the proposal consists of a land swap with the Village of Williamsville.

Natale Development plans on building dozens of town-homes and apartments on a former construction yard. With a land swap, the company would be allowed to build on a parcel of land that is currently part of South Long Park.
“People have painted it as they’re going to give away park land to build apartments. It’s not true it would be a swap,” said Williamsville Mayor, Brian Kulpa.

The developer would get 1.8 acres of land and in return, Natale Development would have to replace the park on new land.

Hundreds of homeowners are against the land swap. Several have signs in their yard opposing paving the park.

“I think that we should not put any buildings where the current park is and avoid paving it at all costs,” said Alexis Bartlo, village resident.

“I don’t like the idea of exchanging public land for private development. The traffic really is a problem, more pollution, danger, noise, name it,” said Steven Dyson, village resident.

Neighbors News 4 spoke to said they’re not opposed to the development of apartments and town homes, they’re more concerned about disrupting the park that people use everyday.

“I grew up at that park in my backyard, the amount of people that go through the park and play softball and soccer, it would just change everything and make it a lot less convenient,” said Bartlo.

Mayor Kulpa says the Village will only go forward with the land swap if that’s what the community wants. “There’s no one holding a proverbial gun to our heads to make us do a land swap, it’s purely do you want this option or not?”

Neighbors are concerned about losing the baseball diamond in the park. Kulpa says with the land swap it would be replaced, south of the soccer field.

If the village decides to go through with the land swap it would have to go through the village approval process.

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