Ghosts of Christmas yet to come?
"Whereas: There currently is a severe shortage of rental housing in the Town of Amherst, which shortage has been caused in part by the rapid increase in the population of the Town since 1970 resulting from its desirability as a place to live ...
Where have you heard that preamble before? The controversial Town Meeting warrant article continues:
"This severe shortage of rental housing has led to a serious public emergency with respect to the rental housing available to a substantial number of citizens of the Town, which emergency is causing a serious threat to the public health, safety and general welfare of the citizens of the Town."
Selected excerpts from Article #29, Rental Registration Bylaw coning up Monday night? No. Article #64, Rent Control Act. Narrowly defeated by only five votes, 116 to 111. Monday, May 16, 1983.
Yes, THIRTY YEARS AGO.
Today's landlords should consider themselves lucky that Article #29 is so light on the touch, simply ensuring that minimum common sense health and safety codes are routinely enforced for the good of tenants and the neighborhood.
The only landlords being "punished" are the ones who deserve it!
Of course should Article #29 fail tomorrow night -- and I'm confident it will not -- a fallback article comes up on Wednesday (Article #38), a similar version of Rental Registration Permit system with the main difference being owner occupied units -- whether the rental aspect is an "accessory use" or primary use -- will be exempt from the regulations.
Architects of that less restrictive article also plan to amend #29 with that wording.
Because most of the problems of rowdy student behavior emanate from (absentee) non owner occupied rentals, it is tempting to support #38 over the more restrictive #29.
Although the Safe & Health Working Group intended for the General Bylaw to cover all rentals, a serendipitous mistake between revisions does exclude room rentals for up to 6 tenants in owner occupied units.
And those mom-and-pop landlords who are also town meeting members are now far more likely to support Article #29, the original bylaw created by the Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods Working Group, already approved by the Town Manager, and unanimously supported by the Select Board, Planning Board and Finance Committee.
Tune in Monday night as Amherst Town Meeting takes another bite at the 30-year-old apple. This time the majority will get it right!