Friday, October 14, 2011

Battle of the sexes, continued...

Jeff Bagg, town planner/liaison. ZBA: Hilda Greenbaum, Barbara Ford, Eric Beal

Last night the Amherst Zoning Board of Appeals heard testimony concerning the appeal of a "cease and desist" order by the Amherst Building inspector for a conversion from Sorority to Fraternity at 38 Nutting Avenue on the outskirts of UMass, close to the notorious former Frat Row.

The board made no decision, continuing the public hearing to November 3, as new materials had arrived just that afternoon from opposing attorneys.

According to town attorney Joel Bard, "If the board were to uphold the Building Inspector's determination that a change from a sorority to a fraternity constitutes a change in use under Section 9.22, the Board would need to identify some non-subjective, quantifiable differences between these two institutions. For example, testimony from police and fire departments, or from other Town official documenting the fact that fraternities are a more consistent drain than sororities on the resources of emergency responders or other officials could be a basis for specific findings that the two are different uses."

Maybe they should use my "Party House of Weekend" series, which clearly shows young men are many times more likely to engage in rowdy behavior. Or just go back five or six years when Frat Row was still active. Of course the Frat on the other end of the street--374 North Pleasant--is still active and shows up periodically in the police logs.

Another B-I-G difference between the two is sororities ban alcohol on the premises, obviously frats do not.

Attorney James Heffernan closed his presentation with a thinly veiled threat, pointing out to the three member board that municipal officers who violate the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment could be sanctioned on a "civil rights" violation.
Attorney James Heffernan

Attorney Bard counters in writing: "There would be no equal protection violation in upholding the Building Inspector's decision unless the Board based its decision solely on subjective, gender-based impressions or opinions instead of identifying quantifiable differences between the two institution."

The sorority had approximately 40 women living together and the frat currently has 30. While the case is under appeal they can continue to call 38 Nutting Avenue home. Last year the building generated $179,000 in rental income and was assessed by the town at $1,087,400.

If the ZBA does not overturn the Building Inspector's order--and it takes a unanimous vote to overturn--the ongoing rowdy student behavior will have chalked up yet another innocent victim.

About 30 people showed for the Public Hearing. Opponents on left, supporters on right

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

"If the ZBA does not overturn the Building Inspector's order--and it takes a unanimous vote to overturn--the ongoing rowdy student behavior will have chalked up yet another innocent victim."

Huh? If the BI's order IS sustained, then the neighbors will NOT become innocent victims of the frat boys.

LarryK4 said...

True.

I was only there for a half hour or so but I got the impression this particular frat was not an Animal House type one like nearby 374 North Pleasant Street.

Neighbors, however, just don't want to take that chance. Can't say I blame them.

But I do blame the Party Hardy Boys who live in frats and party houses sprinkled throughout residential neighborhoods.

Anonymous said...

How many of these "part houses" have been frats? Not many. Look at your own blog posts. They are apartments and houses not frats. Frats don't wan their charters revoked.

Hilda Greenbaum said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
LarryK4 said...
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Anonymous said...

What people fail to realize is that the Goodridge (Gay Marriage) decision was based on interpreting the State ERA (passed circa 75 or so) as meaning that one may make no legal distinctions between men and women in Massachusetts.

Hey, *I* didn't write that decision...

And Larry, it doesn't matter if the boys are louder and more destructive -- if you distinguish by sex, it is the same thing as saying that black boys are louder and more destructive than white ones (and you know how well you would do with that one).

And thus the town does not have a leg to stand on. It would be the same thing as if St Bridget's was to become a Mosque -- you can't reflect on what kind of worship the house of worship has...

Anonymous said...

This man clearly has no idea of what the actual situation is. Stop reporting misinformation. And it might do you some good to reevaluate what issues are worth butting into. There are a lot of good causes that you could redirect some of your efforts to, and actually make a difference rather than just judging people who you don't know or understand.

LarryK4 said...

Oh, I "know" and "understand" l-o-t-s of Anons. Too many in fact.

Senator Blutarsky said...

Larry you sure do give 374 North Pleasant a lot of grief, any real reason aside from a lucky picture of trash on their lawn, and supposed activity in the police logs?

LarryK4 said...

Nah, when it comes to giving grief I'm an equal opportunity giver.

Lucky picture? (I'm surprised you did not suggest I staged it.)