Thursday, January 20, 2011

That's Entertainment


Amherst Brewing Company hosted a catered meet-and-greet "Open House" last night at their proposed new location: Newmarket Center on University Drive, a busy direct artery leading to the heart of our economy, Umass.

The new-and-improved location would essentially double their footprint, double their seating capacity and provide bountiful parking--all for roughly the same rent they now pay in Amherst center where parking is hardly plentiful.

And since Amherst enacted a local option meals tax, what's good for a restaurant is good for the taxbase.

The previous tenant, The Leading Edge (formerly Gold's Gym), expired last fall after falling behind in rent so by now the vacant tomb has cost the landlord over $100,000 in lost revenue. No wonder the property manager did not hesitate to allow a viable prospective tenant to throw a party.

The three member Zoning Board of Appeals will hear their case February 10 and, unfortunately, the Special Permit requires a unanimous vote. Neighbors will be out in force to rail against increased noise and traffic.

And so it goes.
Looks like former owner Peter Earle did not put back ALL the equipment he snatched on Christmas day


A commercial location (for many years now)

35 comments:

e said...

Larry - be a good journalist and post the time and location -- and when those of us who agree with you can speak (if we can).

Not all of us are insiders, not all of us get our marching orders from anonymous letters in the mail -- and while I probably could find it, post it PLEASE

Ed said...

That should have been Ed -- enough fishing injuries and your fingers don't always work right....

LarryK4 said...

Zoning Board of Appeals

February 10, 7:30 PM - 10:00 PM

RECEIVED: 1/20/11 at 8:59 am. MEETING TIME: 7:30 pm. LOCATION: Town Room, Town Hall. LIST OF TOPICS: PUBLIC HEARING - ZBA FY2011-00017 - Amherst Brewing Company - To establish a new Class II restaurant & bar, with accessory outdoor dining, sales and distribution, under Section 3.352.1 and 5.041 of the Zoning Bylaw, at 6 University Drive.

Anonymous said...

When I first heard they wanted to move I was a little sad they wouldn't be downtown. It is a smart move for them for space and for parking. They really do have a better class of customers, and will attract more there. I hope the neighbors realize it isn't another Rafters, not that they're that bad either.

Anonymous said...

Is this the same blog that posts the party house of the week? I'm confused. When Louise Foods wanted to build the plaza there were lots of questions about it's impact on nearby residents. In the end the answer was that it's just a supermarket. Well, now it's not a supermarket, it has morphed into a bar that will be open to 1 AM. The NIMBYs were right. More tax base can't come at the sacrifice of the residents or what is the point of living here. This is a bad idea and it just shows that Larry & Co. will throw you under the bus for a bit of meals tax.

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone.

Anonymous said...

I sincerely doubt you'll get the rowdies there that the other center of Town bars get. Besides, if they can make, sell, and distribute more beer at that location -- isn't that encouraging a business? Wouldn't that be good for Amherst?

Anonymous said...

Well Rafters and The Hangar already attract and encourage enough drunk and rowdy UMASS student. It's surprising that Amherst thinks it needs another establishment to add to that mix. Well, if not for anything else, reading the police log ought to be that much more fun.

Anonymous said...

Now, that's not really the choice now is it? It's build what's appropriate.

LarryK4 said...

I believe that large commercial building was built a long time ago.

Anonymous said...

I will bet that the folk on Lincoln Avenue will support this (as they should).

Take a map of town and draw a red line around the campus. Then put a big "X" on where ABC is right now (downtown) and where they want to be (6 U-Drive).

Then draw big black lines between each location to campus -- draw one which follows roads, and a second which is the shortest route, even if it goes through backyards and such. Then draw a third one between Southwest and each location that somehow avoids all Amherst Residential Neighborhoods....

Notice that all three routes to 6 University Drive literally run the bikepath, and that everything beyond the traffic light is UMass land. Other than crossing the street, people are either on the establishment's property or UMass property at all times!

This is the ideal location for the most obnoxious and rowdy bars possible because the drunks wandering home to UMass are going to take the shortest route and they will wind up urinating in the swamp or on someone's car in the UM parking lots -- they won't have any incentive to be anywhere near an Amherst residential neighborhood.

And with a PVTA bus that runs directly to campus, and with Amnity Street being a steep hill, they aren't going to have any incentive to go near those houses although maybe the neighbors would agree to support a waiver that permits them to put up a 10 foot stockade fence and then there definitely wouldn't be any problems....

Anonymous said...

I support local business, go ABC.

Anonymous said...

As someone who lives on a street off of Amity, I totally agree with Anon 11:34. I think that having ABC move will in no way increase the number of drunken students coming through my neighborhood, and could actually have the opposite affect.

Btw, it is still amazing to me (and not in a good way!) how of just a few drunken students (often just in groups of 2 or 3) in the middle of the night can be so loud and disruptive and wake up so many people.

Anonymous said...

Zoning is supposed usage not the other way around. it destroys faith in zoning as protection if it just get overridden at the drop of a hat. What happens when ABC goes belly up and another bar that caters even more to rowdy students wants in? Then the new usage has already been approved. Can't happen? How's Louis Foods doing? They had a whole big presentation before the selectboard about how they were going to be able to compete with the other supermarkets. So much for presentations.

Anonymous said...

That was supposed to read:

Zoning is supposed to dermine usage not the other way around.

Anonymous said...

Isn't ZBA approval in this type of situation only good for one individual business. If hypothetically, ABC relocated and went out of business, a new establishment (restaurant, bar, whatever) wanting to locate there would need to get its own ZBA approval unless that specific use is allowed in the zoning bylaws by right for that location.

LarryK4 said...

Yep.

Anonymous said...

I don't tend to be out late night at bars when the said rowdy drunk students are about. But, didn't ABC win a lawsuit against underage individuals trying to use a fake id? I would think that shows what a responsible establishment they are running. I would love to see them move to a location with easy access parking.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, and when they apply to the ZBA they'll point to the past usage and threaten to sue the town for discrimination if they are denied the permit. The precedent will have been set.

LarryK4 said...

Especially if they were Cuban.

Anonymous said...

Is that a rascist comment?

Anonymous said...

I think Larry's recounting history with that last remark.

Anonymous said...

Oddly rascist comment.

LarryK4 said...

Obviously you don't remember "Pruddy's Tropical Bar and Grill", where Mr. Gomez charged town officials with racism for the way they went about shutting down his operation for a bevy of violations.

Or maybe you're just a newbie who moved here in the last five years.

So I guess you would never get an inside reference to "Twisters", eh?

Anonymous said...

Didn't you take all those journalism classes? It's not up to the reader to have to decipher your references, especially when you provide not a hint of what you are referencing. Just state your point clearly, then put your twist on it at the end.

Newbie

LarryK4 said...

I figured you were.

Used to be you could also tell by the folks who pronounced the H in Amherst.

But that darn Parade Committee sold those t-shirts and mugs emblazoned with the line "Amherst: where only the h is silent."

Now THAT secret is out.

Anonymous said...

Some of us not only get the Twisters remark, but we also can answer, 'What nursing home was turned into a restaurant?' He he he he. (I'm a newbie -- have only been here since 1967 ...)

LarryK4 said...

You made the 25 year cutoff--you're no longer a newbie.

Anonymous said...

Look at the plans.

It's huge. There's just no way around it, it's mostly a giant BAR.

And it's RIGHT NEXT TO A PACKAGE STORE.

The last bar that wanted to go in there in 2002 was turned down as well, and for very good reasons. Read the ZBA's decision to deny
H2O's application for a special permit in the same location. It says all that need to be said about this.

It's just totally unfair to ask people to accept one level of commercial development in their neighborhoods and then change it. When Louis wanted to build that development, the neighborhood was assured that it would be OK because of the limited zoning.

I agree with the person who said so well: "Zoning dictates use, not the other way around."

If the zoning on this parcel is overturned, why would anyone be so foolish as to let ANYTHING be built near them, if you knew the use of it could always be increased??????

And if you think there won't be foot and vehicle traffic back and forth from downtown to this place, you are kidding yourselves. The idea that students will meekly proceed directly from campus to the Univ. Dr. location and back again ignores the reality that a substantial portion of the drinking age students live off campus spread around our neighborhoods.

This is just not a good idea, that's why it was zoned that way in the first place.

Dale said...

Are you kidding me? Increased usage for foot and vehicle traffic! If you haven't noticed that corridor is a main through way in both directions for getting to UMass as well as the coming and going for downtown. I don't think ABC moving there is going to create a major bottle neck any worse than what we have already have there. I just wish everyone that is against the move, would come up with other viable solutions to getting new businesses interested in Amherst, and keeping the one's we have. Our town has developed such a bad reputation for being difficult to open business in I'm surprised anyone even considers Amherst anymore. Even businesses that meet the NIMBY code of approval get caught in a procedural nightmare and can't open for months on end. I'm sorry, but we focus so much on what can go wrong in this town that the right things never even have a chance to emerge. If we want the town to grow we will have to adapt and some zoning changes will have to take place to allow for this growth. It's an evolution that we had better figure out how to adjust to, and soon.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry but one of the points of zoning is to keep the rest of the town from selling you down the river for their own interests. Let's just have no zoning at all if it doesn't actually represent anything. Why move to a neighborhood and trust the way land is zoned if it's all just a farce?

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:38 pm:
The process by which some proposed uses that are not automatically allowed are considered by a ZBA is a much a part of zoning as the uses that are allowed by right.

It does not make our zoning lawa a farce.

Anonymous said...

What's the fuss? I recall more police needed at Antonio's in the past rather than ABC. They've been doing their thing since '97? They want to GROW, MORE JOBS for local kids and students, CLEAN, NO IMPACT INCREASE in the TAX BASE, USING EXISTING INFRASTRUCTURE OBVIOUSly they must be stopped. Is it something in the water or what, seriously

Anonymous said...

what happened last night? I only tuned in for part of the discussion.

Anonymous said...

One of points everyone seems to have missed is that ABC is looking for a variance to open from 11 PM to 1 AM.
They can move there tomorrow and open, if they close at 11 PM.
This is not a zoning change it is an issue of hours of operation.