Butterfield Terrace below, Pokeberry Ridge well above
One of the routine arguments put forth by NIMBYs to uphold the sacred BANANA covenant Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything is the tired old refrain, "I moved here thinking my neighborhood zoning was etched in uranium depleted mortar shells." So now that can now never-in-a-million-years, change.
The efforts by homeowners on Pokeberry Ridge, nestled high on a ridge line 100 feet above and perhaps 400 feet back, to torpedo a zoning change on Butterfield Terrace is all too typical.
4 properties propose rezoning from RN to RG (shown in yellow)
Since the four lots in question (currently RN) are already contiguous with (higher density) RG zoning, and are situated within crawling distance of the bustling UMass campus and Amherst town center, it would be hard to find property more suitable for such a change.
Especially since the overly expensive "Master Plan" from a few years back specifically supports such density tweakings.
And even if Town Meeting gives it a two-thirds endorsement required for a zoning change the current owners would still have to get a Special Permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals for any development. And that requires a unanimous vote of all three sitting members.
The Planning Board, who are the appointed experts on such matters, voted 6-1 to support the zoning change and the Finance Committee supported it unanimously.
But the Select Board, demonstrating they are elected rather than appointed, took the easy way out and voted unanimously to recommend "referring the article back to the Planning Board for further study."
David Markland Feb 18 Planning Board meeting
The neighbors who have led the charge to fight the proposal only purchased their house less than a year ago. And then quickly set about clear cutting their backyard to enhance the scenic vista.
Although that does nothing for the backyard view of the houses down below on Butterfield Terrace, and even worse -- since trees naturally prevent storm water run off -- now when it rains, the steep incline turns into a mud slide.
Pokeberry neighbor on the other side not as ambitious with tree clearing
I'm pretty sure when the residents on Butterfield Terrace purchased their homes they expected the steep hillside behind them to remain as a forested buffer from their neighbors up on Pokeberry Ridge.