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Will gun club survey sway Amherst officials?

  On Tuesday, Benderson Development released a survey by the respected, Buffalo-based Barry Zeplowitz and Associates showing that 58 percent of Amherst voters polled support the $44 million Amherst Town Centre project, while 26 percent were opposed.

   The results were immediately assailed by critics of the gun club project as being biased since Benderson commissioned the survey, even though Zeplowitz said the survey followed sound, polling principles.

   Zeplowitz said he was impressed with the fact that 75 percent of those surveyed were aware of the gun club development.

   "It's one of those projects that had caught the attention of voters," he said.

   Zeplowitz pointed out that over the past five years, voter concerns about high taxes have overtaken development as the biggest issue in Amherst. The fact that this project would generate new tax revenue for the region appears to make the project more attractive to voters, he said.

   Monday's much-awaited rezoning decision on the project will tell whether this poll carries any weight with the people who matter most - the members of the Amherst Town Board.

  --- Sandra Tan

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