Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The People’s Republic Indeed

The almost impossible job of constructing new dwellings, what with current zoning/permitting in place, NIMBY’s just waiting to pounce, and the price of land in an almost built-out Amherst, will only worsen if everybody’s favorite do-gooder Vince O’Connor convinces fellow Comrades at Town Meeting come Spring.

Yesterday he filed a Zoning Petition Article (only needs ten signatures) that would require any new residential development to “provide affordable housing units,” and if it results in five or more would be “referred to the LSSE Director (recreation department) and Commission of the Town of Amherst for their recommendations regarding the nature, extent and maintenance requirements of such on-site recreational facilities as would be consistent with national or regional standards.”

Of course the developer can opt out of providing on-cite recreation by “the payment into a Town of Amherst Recreational Capital Fund of a $5,000 per unit development impact fee.” Hell, I would give prospective new homeowners a deal at the Amherst Athletic Club.

Supply and demand is the simplest rule in market economy. High demand, low supply equals inflated prices. Low demand, high supply equals bargain prices. Anytime you restrict supply (ironically by requiring “affordable” units) or drive up the overhead cost ($5,000 per unit recreation tax) you strangle supply.

And that’s precisely what the Treehuggers want (couldn’t help but notice Select man Rob Kusner signed the petition.)

1 comment:

O'Reilly said...

Affordable housing in Amherst, when? where? Housing in Amherst has been unaffordable for a long time. Resale prices and high assessment values are why the town budget is caput now... because tax revenues were used to start services that are not substainable in todays post-housing bubble environment.... and it's going to get worse befre it gets better.