Friday, April 24, 2009

Ghost of Christmas future 2


Back 15 years ago Phillip Sweeney asked Amherst Town Meeting to zone this property Village Square to allow commercial development. They overwhelmingly turned him down. I of course voted in favor. One town official even told Town Meeting that someday this entire corridor (ultra-busy Rt. 9) would be zoned commercial but Mr. Sweeney is a tad ahead of the curve (naturally the NIMBY neighbors spoke against the rezoning.)

His speech was one of the most disjointed I have ever heard in Town Meeting and he looked, with his frizzy hair, a bit like a male version of recent sensation Susan Boyle (but without the speaking/singing talent)

When the lopsided vote was announced (and it required a two-thirds majority to pass) a long-time Town Meeting member sitting behind me said to the member next to him "That's because we don't like him." Hmmm....

He did manage to open the Maplewood Restaurant under a "farm stand" exemption (what is more natural than fresh brewed beer?) but with all the rules and regulations restraining his commercial activity the restaurant only lasted a few years.

And now it just sits there, abandoned. The first commercial enterprise you see when approaching Amherst from the east. A reminder of the motto: bury your business in Amherst.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Speaking of farming....

The Pot-smoking festival is this weekend and Amherst is broke.

Might I suggest lining up all the cops at one end of the common with lots of ticketbooks and just go through the whole mess and cite all the people smoking, possessing or smelling of pot.

At $150 each that the town gets to keep and a couple thousand people there, you have a cool million in cold hard cash.

Anonymous said...

Cite only the kids who possess less than 1 oz with a ticket for $150.

Confiscate pot from (but do not cite or arrest) the kids who possess more than 1 oz. Then re-bag the pot into bags> 1 oz and sell it back to them for $150.

Anonymous said...

Maplewood restaurant died because their food was so-so and their service was dreadful. Can't really blame Amherst red-tape for either of those basic problems.

LarryK4 said...

Well I'm far from a restaurant critic but Maplewood was one of our favorite restaurants...and my first daughter learned how to walk on the stairs leading up to the second floor.

And strangely enough our "runner up" favorite restaurant was Amherst College owned Boltwood Tavern.

Damn, we must be a jinx.

Ed said...

The story on Amherst College not being able to finish the Lord Jeff job without a partner is very significant. It is reflective of just how weak the higher education market is right now, and how likely the whole thing is to fall apart as a whole.

LarryK4 said...

Well, they can afford to spend over $2.3 million to take a downtown building off the taxrolls and just bought a house for over $500-K (that I hope will not go off the tax rolls) but they can't rehab an institution that anchors the downtown?

Anonymous said...

My guess is that there are encumbered and unencumbered funds. Otherwise known as someone will donate for one thing, but not for another. And unlike in years past, the unencumbered funds are gone....

LarryK4 said...

But when they come back to visit for homecoming wouldn't they like to stay at the Lord Jeff?

Anonymous said...

Did you see Pizza/river shark went under this week? How many failed restaurants have been in that location?

Congrats to today's Gazette headline, only one parade in Amherst on the 4th of July!

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, I'm pretty sure restaurants are #1 for business failures annually but recently car dealershiops could be winning out.

Health Clubs are always in the top five.

dominique said...

Pizza Shark/River Shark: its really a shame that they went under (if true) but I went there three times. The first time I called in for take out, and 20 minutes later when I arrived to pick up, the order took another 20 minutes to be ready. Second time, I waited patiently at the counter to place an order and after 10-15 minutes of listening to the workers chit chat with each other an ignore me, I left. Third time, with my elderly father, waited over 20 minutes to get someone to take our order and finally left for somewhere else. Great concept, great menu, if you can get them to give you service.

Anonymous said...

So what does it say when the blogmaster has more institutional memory than anyone at the local newspaper?

The Gazette needs to do a better job of explaining local issues and providing context, but you have to know the history in order to do that.

Is it any wonder that the newspaper business is in serious trouble?

But when they repeatedly get named "New England Newspaper of the Year", perhaps this is the best we're going to get.

LarryK4 said...

Larry Parnass (a solid journalist) is becoming the new Editor In Chief and he has talked about beefing up their webpage.

Speed and context is a great combination (not to mention pictures and videos)