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Hyatt project continues, as residents wait decision on appeal

Construction on the controversial Hyatt Place Hotel on Main Street is moving forward again, despite an upcoming court decision that could change the outcome of this ongoing saga over a six-story hotel.

A temporary restraining order allowing only limited clearing and construction had been imposed at the site until State Supreme Court Justice John L. Michalski recently rejected two lawsuits filed by neighbors and paved the way for building to start up again.

In fact, opponents – the Livingston Homeowners Association – lost another round in the hotel battle this week, when their request for a preliminary injunction to temporarily stop construction was denied by Appellate Justice Gerald J. Whalen.

However, Iskalo Development Corp. proceeds with construction at its own risk. The case goes before the State Appellate Court in Rochester on Dec. 11.

Attorneys will argue over the Amherst Zoning Board of Appeal’s decision to raise the two-story height restriction for the hotel. A prior ruling upholding the Zoning Board’s decision was appealed by the Livingston residents.

“We thought that would have been a rational and responsible way to go forward,” Richard G. Berger, attorney for the Livingston homeowners, said of his request for a preliminary injunction on Monday.

“It would only be for a limited period of time, because the case will be heard soon and probably decided at the end of January,” he said.

So what happens if the appeals court rules against Iskalo – and imposes the two-story height restriction – but the developer already has framed a six-story building?

“Iskalo has acknowledged they are doing this at their own risk,” Berger said, “and may have to deconstruct if the court rules against them.”

-- Jay Rey

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