Wednesday, July 14, 2010

ARA update

Yeah, we met again this evening (at least Town Hall is air conditioned) and Jeanne Traester was MIA, but the rest of us troopers reported for duty--that evil duty of development. And of course we four were outnumbered 2-1 by "concerned neighbors."

Former Amherst Redevelopment Authority member Nancy Gordon, who was elected to the ARA a few years back (when we were dormant) could not make the meeting but sent along a letter of concern. We are trying to schedule a "field trip" to Storrs, CT. to view "Husky Village" which is a development project along the lines of what we are considering for the Amherst/Umass Gateway project.

She writes: "Although I have never been to Storrs, CT, both my sons have so I asked them for their opinions of the proposed "model" being talked about in Storrs. Here is what they had to say:

Son #1: Although he had not been there often, he recognized the part of the Storrs campus being referred to, and he told me that he understood that was the area of Storrs where most of the student unrest has occurred. Is this perhaps "Hobar Lane #2?

Son #2 has been to Storrs on more than one occasion, I suspect in connection with his band, and he laughed when I mentioned the area. That, he said, is where "all the strip joints are." Is that what we want in Amherst?"

Back when I toiled in Town Meeting the ultimate boogeyman used to sabotage any zoning change was "gas station." Folks would "rise in opposition" saying if we change this zoning now for the current owner with this lovely plan to open a flower shop or veterinary clinic they could suddenly drop dead and some evil republican robber baron could absorb the property and turn it into a, gasp, GAS STATION.

Well I guess we've come a long way. The boogeyman has morphed from a "gas station" to a "strip joint." Heck, that sounds like progress to me.


Anonymous said...

Ah, the growing list of reasons NOT to do development:

1) It's too busy there.
2) It's too quiet there.
3) Anything we do will start the inexorable process known as Becoming Hadley.
4) In some other town, when they did development, they got strip joints. (gasp)
5) Hobart Lane (no need for even a complete thought on that one, just whisper the phrase)
6) Name any development eyesore, pause pregnantly, and then ask "Do we want that HERE?"

Fear of change: it knows no ideology. Anybody can play.

Joel said...

I'm so proud of our town's governance. We now have a board member skipping a meeting about a project she apparently opposes. She seems to oppose it without knowing much about it, but that's okay because she sent a note with her sons' opinions about another town's development. Although neither one knows much about that town, one of them is in a band and so he's kind of an expert on it.

I guess her cat was unavailable for comment.

LarryK4 said...

Nancy Gordon is no longer an ARA board member. She was on for three years (and I think in that entire time we only met once) and then did not rerun for the seat.

My theory is she got on the board in order to stifle development from within as she was a major anti-garage person back in the day.

The Boltwood Garage (per ARA request) was designed to be expandable, so someday--I hope--the ARA will take on that job.

And yes, all the anti-garage NIMBYs will reawaken.

Anonymous said...

I think you could probably do some of your well known internet investigating and get more info on that area than an opinion from Nancy's sons. And will a field trip be at peak student time or to see how nice it is when they are all gone?

Anonymous said...

love the cat comment Joel, thanks for the laugh

LarryK4 said...

Anon: 10:58
We are looking at the end of July. So yeah, the kids will be gone but the infrastructure will still be there--"strip clubs" and all.

Maybe I'll arrange an overnight ride along with Storrs PD on Labor Day weekend.

Go Huskies! said...

OK, I grew up in Storrs and my mom still lives (I visit often) there so I feel compelled to comment. Storrs is where UConn is FYI so that may be why it could be comparable to Amherst. What I know about 'Husky Village' is that they are planning on making an area of commercial development that caters to students. They want it to have a downtown feel with sidewalks etc. What is in that area right now is a couple of STRIP MALLS with such erotic delights as a Friendly's, a Starbucks, a drug store etc. They are planning to get rid of the strip mall feel and transform it into a walkable area with more restaurants etc. And they are just starting to build it.
I think this is right although I have no 'band' status. The only band I was in was a high school garage band - we played 5 songs; our hit was 'Rip My Shirt'. We played a party once. There are no 'strip joints' in Storrs. If you want a strip joint you have to go to Electric Blue in Tolland, right off the exit to 84. I've never been but a girl in my high school class apparently worked as a dancer there once. I'm sure (I hope) she doesn't dance anymore, as we now are too too old. I hope I have defended the honor of my hometown, and her expanding tax base.

Anonymous said...

In Amherst, "diversity" really means "there must be a member of the Anti-Development Party on all boards and committees at all times".

LarryK4 said...

Indeed. And you would think a token presence in a democracy is fine--the loyal opposition (a role I've played for 25 years).

But the problem arises with, ugh, Town Meeting, where a two-thirds majority is required for a zoning change.

And that is two-thirds of the tired, aging, predominantly white members who happen to show up on that particular night.

The weak link! That's where a minority of well organized I've-got-mine-now-the-hell-with-everybody-else crowd can create/maintain gridlock.

Anonymous said...

"Is that what we want in Amherst?"


Thank you Amherst for absorbing so many freak-a-zoidal morons as to make the state livable!


LarryK4 said...

Our planning guy, Jonathan Tucker just emailed the ARA with this:

Dear ARA members:

Some quick follow-up on the assertions in Ms. Gordon’s letter:

Strip Clubs - The likelihood that Amherst would ever permit the establishment of an adult entertainment use is vanishingly small. The idea of linking development of a mixed use corridor linking the downtown and UMass housing some hundreds of college students with the inevitable arrival of strip clubs in Amherst is, at best, fearful apocrypha.

Go Huskies! said...

OK, so the development is actually called "Storrs Village". "Husky Village" already exists and is where frat row is. Now you can Google this more successfully. Or here is a link:

You can also Google "Electric Blue"(a full 8 miles away). You know, if you want.

Anonymous said...

bring on the titties

uninformed local said...

What this town needs is a gas station with a strip joint out back. One swipe of the debit card covers everything.

Anonymous said...


Fck Amherst.

Anonymous said...

maybe cinda can open a strip club at the dead lumber mill?

call it lumberjackers

Anonymous said...

jigglin boobies

Anonymous said...



gayberry said...

and roberts can open a gay joint called "hunglikeahorse"