Umass is in the process of purchasing 93 Fearing Street, probably because of its prime location abutting Lincoln Apartments, recently renovated family housing (105 units) set aside for Graduate Students and faculty. The house,currently assessed at $403,000, has been owned and occupied by the same family for 50 years.
Obviously owner-occupied houses in that neighborhood are not the problem when it comes to rowdy student behavior.
Next door neighbor Gretchen Fox appeared before the Amherst Select Board on 10/25 to complain about the purchase and husband John Fox has also been routinely attending the ARA meetings over the past six months to question The Gateway Project.
Since this will take the three-family house and property (over one acre) off the tax rolls it will cost Amherst about $6,500 annually in lost revenue (plus 2.5%.) Umass is the #2 landowner in town behind Amherst College and overall tax exempts own half the property in town.
From: Todd Diacon
Sent: Fri, Nov 5, 2010 3:36 pm
Subject: Re: Umass/town relations
Dear Larry: Thank you for your thoughts and query.
I have met with John Musante to discuss 93 Fearing Street, and soon will follow
up on the meeting with a memo explaining our plans for that property.
As to the other issue, we believe the Gateway Project will produce the win-win
situation of additional housing that individuals affiliated with the university
will find attractive (undergraduate students, graduate students, new faculty),
while contributing to the town's tax receipts.
University of Massachusetts Amherst
On Nov 5, 2010, at 1:13 PM,
Not asking as an ARA member, just as a nosey blogger. The bricks-and-mortar
media sleep from around noon Friday until Monday 9:00 AM, but I do not.
What is up with 93 Fearing Street? I could not help but note the Fox household
has divided to fight a two-front war: John Fox continues to hammer The Gateway Project (and I would not take heart that he failed to show for last night's ARA meeting) on the Commentary pages of the venerable Daily Hampshire Gazette and Amherst Bulletin and wife Gretchen attacks Umass for purchasing 93 Fearing St via public comment at the SB meeting Oct 25.
Since the sizable property is contiguous with Lincoln Apartments, I'm assuming it will be used as housing of some sort? And IF melding seamlessly with Lincoln Apartments that would seem to indicate Grad students or faculty, thus making the neighbors happy?
Of course the upside for the neighborhood is a downside to the town as Grad
Students/Faculty have a far greater impact on our public schools. Last I looked
we had about 60 kids (@ $14,000 per) attending Amherst schools from tax-exempt housing located at Umass, including Chancellor Holub's two daughters.
And speaking of which, what is the status of the Amherst school department's
modular classrooms at Mark's Meadow?
The 5 year "Strategic Agreement" signed with Umass about 4 years ago did clearly state that if Mark's Meadow closed Umass would sort of, maybe, consider a Payment In Lieu of Taxes to cover the $750,000+ in education costs for children in the public system from Umass?
And if the purchase of 93 Fearing street goes through, that will cost the town
another $6,500 or so in property taxes per year. If I were your PR flack I
would be thinking about all of this (especially now).
Tax-exempt house with a view