AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) — What do you do when you find out your driveway is actually a street and a developer is planning to open it up to traffic? That is the nightmare an Amherst family is suddenly facing.
Madeeha Almashhadany and her family had no idea what they thought was their driveway would become such a big problem. It comes off of Wehrle Drive, connects to their garage, and ends in the backyard. They even pay a contractor to plow the snow.
“Our snowplowing contractor had reached out to us and asked us if somebody else was doing it, and we said not that we were aware,” said Almashhadany, the property owner. “Then my husband informed me that the town had come and plowed the driveway that day.”
That is when the Almashhahadys learned the not only was the driveway not on their property, but that it’s not even a driveway. It is the south end of a street that town officials say only exists on paper. “It looks like a driveway to me, too—a rather wide driveway, but that is what it looks like,” said Jacqualine Berger, Amherst Town Councilmember.
Known as South Linden Street, it extends from the end of the pavement, across the backyard, and through a wooded area, apparently ending at McIntire Road to the north. A developer is now planning six house lots in the woods, and South Linden Street would provide access to the homes.
Berger was curious about the street few townspeople know about. She learned that the town was selling the paper street and she is looking into the access to the family’s garage. “I get that the family that has been living here has been using it as a driveway and parking their cars here. Honestly, I don’t see any problem with them continuing to do that,” added Berger.
Without access to the old street, the Almashhadany’s could be forced to park on busy Wehrle Drive, which is a no-parking zone in front of their house.
“I don’t think we would want to do that because there is tons of traffic around 5:30 to 6 o’clock,” Madeeha said. “It is not a safe spot to park at all.”
As long as Amherst owns South Linden Street, the Almashhadanys can park along there. Right now, attorneys are working on a plan that would not cause them hardship when the street is sold.