Have land, will develop
North Amherst residents filed a petition article this morning just before deadline which places on the fall Town Meeting warrant another anti-development zoning proposal that would simply reverse the June 3rd passage of article #31 (by a whopping 119 to 56 vote) allowing 10 housing units per mixed use development "by right" before needing a "Special Permit". The old standard was six units.
The problem with a "Special Permit" is that it requires a unanimous vote of the three-member Zoning Board, a rather high hurdle to clear.
This particular article is a bolt from a crossbow aimed directly at W.D. Cowls, Inc and its feisty President Cinda Jones. Already under fire for selling 154 acre parcel in Northeast Amherst for a student housing development known as "The Retreat," Cowls is also anxious to develop their former saw mill that closed in 2009.
And mixed use buildings are the way to go. But only with a decent density of housing units above the ground floor commercial space.
Amherst is in the midst of a severe housing crisis brought on by supply failing miserably to keep up with demand, mainly due to to NIMBY offensives directed at any project more ambitious than a tree house.
Since the NIMBY petition article is a zoning issue it will require a two-thirds vote to pass. And since the make up of Town Meeting has not changed since June 3rd the likelihood of passage is, well, unlikely. Very unlikely.