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Buffalo News,   May 4, 2001  by Thomas J. Dolan

      Two years ago, George Kannar and his wife, Ellen Weissman, sold their house on Buffalo's Clarendon Place and moved up to a comfortable $805,000 home in Amherst, complete with tennis court, a 60-foot in-ground pool and a sweeping view of Ellicott Creek.

       Now the couple is fighting to keep the public from strolling within 30 feet of their hideaway.

       State and local officials want to build a pathway for Amherst State Park alongside the Kannar-Weissman property, which is tucked into a woodsy corner of suburbia that adjoins the new park. Until now, their nearest neighbor has been a red fox, according to the couple.

       "We love our home very much. We're just hopeful that it will all work out," Kannar said Wednesday. "We're just raising our concerns.

       "I'm confident because what they're proposing isn't fair and doesn't make sense. . . . We're not asking for anything special here. All we want is what everybody else in Amherst has. We get that, we're fine."

       Kannar's confidence may be well-placed. In addition to being high-profile lawyers, he and his wife have hired attorney Anthony Renaldo, who usually represents big Amherst developers before the Town Board.

       Kannar, a University at Buffalo law professor, also has served as a court-appointed receiver for the scandal-plagued laborers union Local 210. And Weissman, a former special counsel to the deputy mayor for economic development in New York City, is an adviser who has been helping to plan the new state park.

       But if the couple succeeds in blocking plans for the path, state and town officials likely would have to set aside plans for about 20 acres of the new park along Sheridan Drive.

       The proposed pathway follows a narrow neck of land linking the northern part of the park, which fronts on Sheridan Drive, with the southern part, which stretches along Ellicott Creek to Williamsville's Glen Park.

       Amherst Supervisor Susan J. Grelick, who met with the couple Thursday in their home, said, "We want to do our best to try to accommodate them, but it doesn't look like there are that many opportunities." The Kannar-Weissman property, a 4.5-acre plot extending almost 1,200 feet off Sheridan, had previously been owned by former Buffalo Sabres General Manager Gerry Meehan, who sold it in 1996 for $1 million, according to records.

       The 4,000-square-foot home features four bedrooms and 4 1/2 baths, and occupies a bluff overlooking the Park Country Club golf course.

       Kannar and Weissman have appeared before the Town Board and sent the town and state a handful of letters detailing their demands.

       Records show the couple bought it in early March 1999, after plans for the new state park already had been discussed for months. Park planners say that because Weissman joined the park planning committee, she also knew about the plans for a system of pathways and passive recreation areas in the 77-acre park.

       Kannar concedes that -- before buying his house -- he was shown one set of park plans calling for a road running by the property, instead of the pathway. The road plan was later dropped.

       But he insists that just because the couple knew about the proposals, that doesn't make the pathway a good idea.

       "If (officials) say, 'We told you so,' it's like that excuses a bad park plan," Kannar said. "All we're really asking is for the same thing anyone else in Amherst would ask for and would get."

       JOHN HICKEY/Buffalo News

     A sign makes it clear that users of Amherst State Park on Mill Street should steer clear of the property of Greg Kannar and Ellen Weissman.

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