When a roundabout becomes a bullseye
The significant downside of requiring a two-thirds vote of Amherst Town Meeting for anything remotely related to development reared its ugly head once again on Wednesday night. The failure to attain that hefty super-majority may have sabotaged the common sense upgrade to a major intersection on the outskirts of town center.
If article 32 passed it would have significantly enhanced the prospects for a state grant to cover all the construction costs.
As usual a majority supported the article (79 "Yes" to 62 "No"). And that majority comes in handy when someone tries to kill the article by "referring it back" to a board or committee for further study, as happened with this seemingly benign article. That motion failed by majority voice vote.
Article 32 won a majority, but not the two thirds required to pass
The issue did not seem to be the improvement of the intersection (with the roundabout being only one of three options). The real issue is NIMBYs wanted payback for the Planning Board approving Kendrick Place, a five story mixed use building that will target, gasp, student renters.
And in the little college town of Amherst, just the mention of "student renters" is fighting words.