Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Circle The Wagons

Neighbors of proposed development already seeing red

Landmark Properties received an all too typical "welcome to Amherst" last night at their informational meeting in the Jones Library to discuss with neighbors their proposed Amherst Retreat Student Housing Project, a 170 unit development off Henry Street currently owned by W.D. Cowls, Inc, the largest private landowner in the state.

One of the neighbors who received an invite to the informational session forwarded a rallying dispatch to organized opposition -- including many in surrounding towns -- erroneously stating the developers "had a terrible reputation in terms of follow through and upkeep."

Of course the other facts this spinmeister got wrong was the assertion that the "salamander crossing will be destroyed" and that "This development is only step one of a long range plan by Cinda >Jones (i.e. Cowls and DH Jones combined) for more development on Cowls property."

Wrong. Cinda Jones is not connected to the real estate agency owned by children of D. H. Jones.

But not letting the facts get in the way of a good narrative is certainly an effective way to mobilize the troops. Over 50 protesters were waiting in front of the Jones Library a few minutes before the meeting start time.

But not everyone who showed up was a disciple of the Church of Obstruction, and some helpful discussion did take place.  Landmark has addressed a major concern by adapting their original plan to reroute traffic from the narrow streets in the heart of Cushman by locating the main entry to the development on Market Hill Road by the town's Water Treatment Plant (A).

 The salamanders will still be able to cross the road

Landmark does not require an exceedingly hard to attain two-thirds vote of Town Meeting for a zoning change in order to do this project.  So it IS going to happen.  This informational session demonstrates Landmark's commitment to being a good neighbor.

Too bad neighbors did not reciprocate.

Cinda Jones speaks


Anonymous said...


Speaking of getting facts wrong, the main entrance is on Henry St. I attended the meeting and was told that by one of the people from Landmark. Were you there? I didn't see you? If so, perhaps you can explain why lawyer Michael Pill and Cindy Jones' self described "family friend" tried to prevent us from getting out seats so we could all hear the same thing at the same time. Fortunately, he did not prevail.

I understand you are supporting this project, but please open your mind enough to understand that residents have legitimate concerns, some of which - another mass of students and with resulting partying and drinking will overload the police, fire and EMS - are the same as you have voiced here many times. Do you want to see another Townhouse Apartments in North Amherst?

Anonymous said...

What route would students take from Landmark to UMass?

The Juggernaut said...

Historic? In what way, shape, or form is it historic?

Anonymous said...

How do they avoid re-zoning?

And how many big old trees will be felled here, Mr. Lorax?

Anonymous said...

tee hee

"Mr. Lorax"

that's some funny stuff right there!

now scurry!

Cinda Jones said...

Fact check: "Cindy" Jones had nothing to do with Mr Pill's unilateral chair decision/action. She was sitting on the sidelines in the back of the other side of the room and was as surprised as you were when he tried to preserve the host's meeting format.

Anonymous said...

I agree... in what way, shape or form is that area historic? Every time I've gone thru there it looks like a ramshakle area in need of improvement.

Anonymous said...

OK everyone why is it so hard for you all to understand Amherst will not, cannot, and never will evolve to a community that is nothing more than a college community that will always rely on property taxes from private home owners. Now with that said someone prove me wrong. What is the big business plan Amherst has that will relieve the financial burden that comes with the luxury of living here. This is a place that people come to live that want absolutely nothing to change. If I had known this before moving here, this would be the last place I would have chosen to buy a home. Amherst is a great model of a community that will eventually have no middle class there will be the home owners that will have to make a fortune to live here and then there will be the housing projects and rentals filled with students and section 8 people. I really hope this town wake up some day and realize your bubble will burst some day and when it does don't hate all that told you so.

Anonymous said...

anon@9:11 is absolutely right. You only need to look at the trend of elementary school demographics to find evidence. Although, I think with a bit of a lag, the wealthy will also start moving away (and not moving here to begin with).

Dr. Ed said...

Cinda -- it is your call, but it might abate a few more rumors if you were to clarify who is whom amongst those named Jones.

*I* always thought that Cowl's Lumber and DH Jones were different divisions of the same family corporation -- not unlike the Canadian Irving family.

Yes, *I* know all the corporate records are public and how to obtain the names of the corporate officers, but *I* don't really care enough to do so -- and the hysterical salamander-saving brigade isn't bright enough to know how to.

Oh, an as to how Cushman Village and the Mill River is historical, It Was An INDUSTURAL Area!!! Not that any of the local hysterical "UMass Owes Me" morons would ever want to confuse themselves with the facts.

Anonymous said...

Um, this new development would pay property tax, yet it would not add children to our public schools. Does that answer your question?

Dr. Ed said...

residents have legitimate concerns, some of which - another mass of students and with resulting partying and drinking

As opposed to fornication, pregnancy and children to be educated at town expense?

Half of your town budget goes to schools. Exactly how much goes to babysitting drunken UMass kids?

Assume that the entire AFD/APD budget goes only to this (and it doesn't), when their revenue is deducted -- AFD's ambulance bills, APD's ticket revenue) -- is the net anywhere near constituting the other half?

And when one calculates it on an annual 52-week year, or on a 24/7 week, or on what the personnel train for, or what the respective chiefs are most worried about -- it isn't UMass related.

APD used to be (and I believe still is) most worried about drugs/gangs in South Amherst, protecting K-8 children from child molesters, property crimes and vehicle safety. AFD used to be most worried about single-family O/O structural fires, medical for very young/old, MVA accidents and HazMat stuff.

1000 units occupied by (a) UM students or (b) pregnant women with children whom the town is going to have to educate -- which do you think is going to cost the town more?

Not which would you prefer to have, but which is going to cost more?

I didn't believe this myself until someone on the Board of Selectmen of a different town pointed out the specifics, but Amherst should LOVE the drunken UM kids because your property taxes are a LOT lower than they would be if those apartments were occupied by families with small children....

And it isn't like you can ask UMass to provide teachers for your schools....

Cinda Jones said...

Hi Ed -

Answering your question... Cowls is a 9th generation family business that evolved over the past 270 years. DHJones (my uncle) and PCJones (my late father) were sons of Walter Cowls Jones, who ran WD Cowls, Inc., in the 7th generation of the family business.

DHJ and PCJ worked for the family business as kids. As an adult DHJ started a highly successful real estate business (DH Jones Real Estate) that not only, with real estate agents, bought sold houses for clients but also bought and built rentals. DHJ did a lot of great things to evolve this town. His business professionally served some Cowls family real estate business needs over the years.

As a young adult, my dad came home from jobs away (like I did after him) and did the day to day management of Cowls. Today DHJ's kids own and manage the Real Estate business and his Jones Properties rentals company. My brother and I own and manage the Cowls enterprises. Hope that clarifies.

Anonymous said...


How can you continue to publish Ed's tirades. His two posts here contain some pretty offensive remarks. "Hysterical salamander-saving brigade isn't smart enough." Fornication, pregnancy and children. Fornication - is that what sex between husband and wife leading to a family is now called? Or is Ed implying that all the children in the Amherst schools are born out of wedlock?
Please, please, please, enough of Ed's offensive posts. I think your readers have really had more than enough of him.

Larry Kelley said...

You always have the option of not reading his comments. They are pretty easy to spot.

Tom McBride said...

Is there going to be any kind of meeting in the Amherst Room, or somewhere else, with this issue in consideration?

Dr. Ed said...

As to my use of the word "fornication" may I suggest the tender reader consider two things?

1: Margaret Marshall, in the Gay Marriage decision, stated that there is no distinction between those couples who are married and those who are not. Read her decision.

2: I wasn't - but perhaps should have - making a distinction between the cost to educate the children of a single mother and the cost to educate the children of a legally licensed married couple.

My intended point was that K-12 education is EXPENSIVE and that the more K-12 kids Amherst has, the more $$$$$ it costs to educate them.

3: I don't think the issue is offense, I think it is the classic ad hominum --- as you can't attack the points I make, which are valid, you instead attack me.

Anonymous said...

How's that job search going Ed?

Anonymous said...

Ed, you were a complete douche bag way before you posted any valid comments here on Larry's blog, I think that's the point most people are trying to make to you.

Why would you want to keep posting, (on whatever topic Larry decides for you to address on a given day,) when so many have asked you to give it a rest? Your physical presence in our town combined with your complete lack of any positive contribution to it reduces our (contributing members of the Amherst Community) quality of life here. And then on top of it you spend your days tip-tapping away about, good, smart, hard-working people in our town in a very negative way. And then you wonder why people call you "asshole" and you think, "oh, it must be because my points are so valid that they have to attack me."

Ed or ED or whoever the hell you think you are, some advice: find another town to squat in, start over with your personality by not looking for a civil suit or a law suit at every turn and by not critiquing the hard-working individuals in your new town from your unemployment throne, drawing hatred and contempt upon yourself in the process.

Anonymous said...

precisely! people don't like it when squatters like you pen poison prose criticizing their hard work. you're not over any targets, big guy, you've got a big old target right on your back and you drew it there.

Anonymous said...

The village center is on the National Register of Historic Places. That doesn't mean there should or should not be development nearby. It's just to answer the question of why the area is considered "historic."