UMass Southwest Towers: 6 were proposed, 5 built
The overwhelming influence of our local Juggernaut, the University of Massachusetts, comes shining through in the "Town of Amherst , Massachusetts Housing Production Plan" unveiled last night at the Housing & Sheltering Committee public forum.
Simply put, the oldest law in capitalism at work: supply and demand. UMass provides an overwhelming supply of college aged youth (now comprising 59.4% of Amherst's population), which drives up demand for too few housing units, which sends average prices through the roof.
Population increased 2.75 times vs housing only 2.3 times
And anytime someone tries to build anything bigger than a dog house, the neighbors sharpen their pitchforks and fire up the torches.
Most impacted are what's left of the classic nuclear family: According to the report, adults age 25 to 44 saw a staggering drop of 45% since 1990.
The housing picture could soon change, however, as the consultant's report illuminates how precariously close Amherst now is to the dreaded 10% threshhold for affordable housing (10.8%).
And with 204 units at Rolling Green Apartments threatening to come off the affordability list, that would bring overall percentage down to well under 10% (8.5%).
And then, via a Ch 40b comprehensive permit, BIG time developers get pretty much a blank building permit, as long as 25% of the units are affordable.
Even just the eviction of low-income Section 8 tenants from 24 units at Echo Village Apartments by housing kingpin Jamie Cherewatti, AKA Eagle Crest Management, will reduce our affordable housing index by one-quarter of one percent.
The clock is ticking.