156 Sunset Avenue will double in occupancy Note UMass Southwest Tower on right
Last night the Amherst Planning Board voted 6-2 to support the request by Eagle Crest Property Management--owned by James Cherewatti--to convert a single family residence into a two family abode, thus making it legal for eight unrelated individuals to take up residence.
James Cherewatti on left
A few of the members cited the Apple Corps Builders motto, "Close enough for South Amherst" (although in this case it's North Amherst) as the house only missed being allowed to become a duplex "by right" by being 16" to close to the road.
Jonathan O'Keeffe pointed out that conversions of single family (formerly) owner occupied housing is a problem all over town because the lucrative practice can attract unruly tenants bringing headaches to the neighborhood--but in this case the house is already student occupied.
And the with the close proximity of UMass it's better to have the students there rather than newly introduced into a traditional neighborhood further away.
The Zoning Board of Appeals has the ultimate authority over this conversion and will hear the case next week. It requires a unanimous vote of all three sitting members.
Currently the house is valued at $404,000 thus generating about $8,000 per year in taxes. Although the owners rent revenue will double, the assessed value will not go up because two family units are not assessed based on income generated, only four or more units.