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Opening the floodgates

   A 117-patio home community in Amherst is gaining attention because of one distinct amenity it has that no other development in town shares - gates.

   As noted in Wednesday's story, the new Greythorne development, off of Main Street between Youngs Road and Hampton Hill Drive, will have unmanned gates at the entry points to the private development, allowing only the residents who live there access to their community.

   This development would be the first of its kind in Amherst, and the largest in Western New York. Since the story has run, some have already e-mailed their strong feelings on the matter.

   Said one Williamsville woman:

  "I work around the corner from the proposed gated community.  I frequently take an hourlong walk at lunch and enjoy that area.  I think it's disgusting that streets where people might walk would be closed off.  It is no wonder that Americans lack for physical exercise... if safe streets are inaccessible and others lack sidewalks.  If I lived in the neighborhoods adjacent to that community, I'd be raving mad too - to have your own neighbors lock you out is absolutely insulting."

   Another resident who would live near Greythorne said it's unfair to lump it in with other gated communities. Many nearby residents believe the gates will help alleviate cut-through traffic problems.

   "As president of Hampton Estates Condominum, I feel that most of the objections were about
water pressure and blasting, rather than the gated community. When I think of a gated community, I think of the places in Florida or Virginia where there are walls around the entire complex with a little guard shack and a rent-a-cop at the front."

   The developer, Marrano/Marc Equity, and some Town Board members, pointed out that people have the right to make different housing choices and to select from a variety of housing offerings. Greythorne is a private, upscale community, and the people who will live there will bear a greater road maintenance and liability burden in exchange for a little more privacy and security. That's a reasonable trade-off, they argue.

   That's a debate that's likely to continue.

  --- Sandra Tan

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