Rock Farm, South East Street Amherst (note 50 gallon drum with liquid)
The number one reason for the high cost of housing and even higher cost of property taxes in Amherst, with a resulting crop of slum houses that spring up in response, is a bad byproduct of the simplest equation in the sacred book of capitalism: supply and demand.
Amherst is now more than half owned by tax exempt institutions that contribute far less than their fair share of Payment In Lieu Of Taxes, thus homeowners (since Amherst has an out of whack 90% residential and only 10% commercial tax base) have to contribute almost twice as much.
Witness Hadley's tax rate of $10.22/$1,000 vs Amherst's $20.39/$1,000.
Yet anytime anyone tries to build housing in town to stimulate supply, the NIMBYs go on the attack ... trying to get the town to buy the property to maintain their scenic views.
The most expensive taking in town history -- the Cherry Hill Golf Course in 1987 -- is an expensive case in point ($2.2 million). A plot hatched by North Amherst neighbors opposed to a Planned Unit Residential Development that would have added 134 high end housing units to the town.
Rock Farm (A) South East Street, Amherst
Now after NIMBYs drove developer Scott Nielson into bankruptcy after he tried to build 23 high end condos and one single family house as a PURD, they want the town to buy this 7.4 acre open space off South East Street for $500,000 using $125,000 in Community Preservation Act money.
And it's the typical formula of using a variety of funding sources (much of it public money), including selling off two building lots for a ton of money. So rather than getting 24 units of desperately needed housing the town only gets two. And rather than generating $200,000 in annual property taxes it will only generate one tenth that. A lose/lose scenario, unless of course you live in the neighborhood.
Safe bet Amherst Town Meeting will approve the $125,000 in CPAC spending. The only place you will find more open space in Amherst is between their collective ears.