Thursday, October 27, 2011
Bad Form Rising
Select Board member Jim Wald posted to the unofficial Amherst Town Meeting listserve (privately owned by Mother Mary Streeter, protector of all things Larkspur Drive) an ominous sign for proponents of article #17, Form Based Zoning--the most controversial warrant article coming before Fall Town Meeting.
The information packet snail mailed to all Town Meeting members will be slightly delayed because when town staff crammed the quaint 9" by 12" brown manila envelopes with all the information printed on the remains of dead trees, the mailer was overweight by USPS bulk mail standards (and generous are those standards). Yikes!
Of course the main reason was the plethora of paper pertaining to Form Based Zoning. And as pretty as it is with all the color graphs and architectural renderings, as with Godzilla movies, size does matter.
Form Based Zoning is already in trouble because as the name succinctly says it's all about zoning, with zoning requiring a two-thirds super majority of Amherst Town Meeting. And naysayers (NIMBYs) are usually more motivated than calm, rational altruistic members who simply have the best interests of the town at heart.
Town officials should take a hint from the simple two-word description of the zoning amendment and synthesize all the supporting materials down to one single page of text, about the same number Lincoln used in the Gettysburg Address.
Town Meeting is about as simple an institution as you can get, so by all means, apply the KISS principle!