North Amherst, um, Village Center
Yesterday at the grand opening of the "Little White Houses" exhibit at the Dickinson Homestead, town manager John Musante tweeted an obvious reference to the upcoming session of town meeting, Emily Dickinson Poetry Walk: "Hope" is the thing with feathers That perches in the soul.
Yes, and the Light Brigade was full of "hope" as they charged into the Valley of Death.
As currently written Article #25--form based rezoning for North Amherst Village Center--will never survive the gauntlet of a nay saying town meeting tomorrow night, after its less controversial twin, article #24, was already eviscerated last Wednesday by 130 yes-78 naysayers.
Zoning articles require a two-thirds supermajority vote. Rather than getting cut to pieces over two or more painful hours the article should be watered down even more by a friendly town meeting member, and if that doesn't work "referred back to the Planning Board," a temporary safe haven for sure.
And either of those motions only requires a simple majority vote.
Besides, back to back defeats of form based zoning will also cast a pall over article #27, a historic district designation for the Emily Dickinson homestead and properties along that historic corridor, also requiring that difficult to achieve two thirds majority vote.
And if town officials really wish to set the stage for future passage of beneficial changes like form based zoning, they need to encourage charter reform, switching to a more professional mayor/council rule to replace antiquated town meeting governance where a minority of village luddites continually stifle progress.
Sometimes you have to destroy the village in order to save it.