Monday, October 27, 2014

"An Oasis Of Peace"

Welcome to West Cemetery an "oasis of peace in the center of the municipality"

The Amherst Public Shade Tree Committee issued a written plea to One East Pleasant Street developers David Williams and Kyle Wilson, urging them to rethink current design plans that will encroach upon Amherst's most sacred ground and final resting place for our most revered citizen, Emily Dickinson. 

A bevy of trees and a 10-year-old historic mural are endangered by development plan

And just to make sure they got the message, a committee member read it publicly to them at the Planning Board meeting last Wednesday night.

 Click to enlarge/read

Of course so much heavy fire was being directed at the developers from all sides that night, they probably have forgotten about the trees due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

 South side of One East Pleasant mixed use project abutting West Cemetery

When the Amherst Carriage Inn hotel was first built in the early 1960s the footprint was graded to be auto friendly .

Amherst Carriage Inn circa 1960

The new owners want to return to the original topography and plan to fill in nearly five feet around the outermost border of their property, exactly where the 15 trees have stood for over a generation.

Kyle Wilson did tell the Planning Board they plan to, "Save what we can, and plant more."

The historic mural -- which can't be saved due to demolition --will be repainted on the southern side of the new building by the original artist, David Fichter, but even that has folks grumbling since the original work had many civic minded volunteers who helped bring it to life.

 Carriage shops bordered by West Cemetery to the south


Anonymous said...

"folks grumbling": when does that ever stop?

It's hard to tell the legitimate grumbling from the overall background noise of grumbling.

Anonymous said...

Folks are grumbling? Next time paint it on your houses then.

Anonymous said...

Why do Mr. William's buildings--first the "ice box", the Kendrick Place and now a penitentiary--have to look so ugly?? I could put up with the dense development whomever the tenants, IF the buildings were attractive!

Larry Kelley said...

Well then, why don't you take out a $10 million loan, buy the property and build an attractive building.

Anonymous said...

Why do the Nimby's have to look so ugly?? I could put up with the constant whining if only they would put on nice clothes, take a shower once in a while, and were attractive!

BTW, the proposed building is a hell of a lot more attractive than the run-down motel it's replacing.

Anonymous said...

Wow- A typewritten letter in the year XIV!

With all the technology in this town can't we get the Shade Tree Committee a computer? (guess they won't be reading your blog!)

Larry Kelley said...

They are a tad traditional. (But I think they read the blog).

Anonymous said...

I don't understand the "ice box", "marshmallow", etc. connotations about Boltwood Place. It seems like a fine addition to our downtown to me. (Notice I said, "to me".)

What bothers me about the way many of Amherst's activist citizens express themselves is that they don't account for the possibility of "other" perspectives. And, aren't we a community that prides itself on the tolerance (at the very least) of others?

So, Anon. 2:57, and similarly aligned "others", might you consider offering a more qualified opinion about the appearance of the buildings, the motives of the builders, the likelihood that the project will or won't benefit the community? Or must we continue to be barraged by the endless litany of your absolute "truths" related to what is or isn't good for Amherst? I was frankly appalled at the tenor of some of the comments expressed at the last Planning Board Meeting and surprised that the Board allowed such outright vehemence to be expressed towards the petitioners at a Public Meeting.

Anonymous said...

You can be for downtown development and still think that the look of the proposed building is kind of a drag.

Anonymous said...

I agree the building isn't very attractive. I'm ok with developing that space but we need to address the lack of parking downtown. Especially with these new apts going up. Most people own cars.

Anonymous said...

Tolerance? In this town? For, let's say, Republicans? Oh yeah Amherst is well known for its tolerance. Have you ever read "The Emperor's New Clothes?"

Anonymous said...

It's not totally unreasonable for the community to have some say as to a look of a building that will be seen for the next 200 years. It's in a very public spot.

prof r m said...

Still nothing important going locally....everyone is eating and warm...really?

Anonymous said...

When we address the parking problem in downtown, we get to the Amherst Catch-22, which we saw on the parking garage.

Proposals to provide adequate parking are met with the complaint that they encourage automobile use and result in increased auto emissions in the area around the parking, where people may be living.

Proposals to provide housing in our downtown and village centers are met with complaints that there isn't adequate parking built into them.


Because the ultimate intent of all of the advocacy is to build nothing.

Many of the cures that you see, including Ms. Adams's inclusionary zoning warrant article, are intended to kill the patient, or to use another metaphor, to make sure that development in Amherst never gets out of Park.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:04 am:
I think everyone, including Ms. Adams, agrees on the need for development. It's the size, appearance and parking which are the issues -- and they are real issues. 500 people living downtown and 40 parking spaces for them clearly doesn't make sense. It's not the town's fault that UMass unilaterally decided to increase enrollment by 2000 without providing any additional on-campus housing.

With on-line higher education, on-campus enrollments for all universities are projected to go down in the future, which may be the reason that UMass isn't stepping. If that proves to be the case, what family, young professionals or retirees are going to rent an apartment without master bedrooms, tiny, tiny cell like bedrooms, tiny kitchens and tiny common rooms. Then the town will be saddled with an ugly, oversized dormitory which may or may not be fully occupied.

One East Pleasant Street should be smaller and provide more parking, at the very least. Unfortunately, the residents have no say what it will look like. If you want to cast stones, cast them at Archilago which, it seems to me, is making little or no effort to be responsible citizens and maximum effort to stuff in as many students and make as much money as they can, at the expense of the town's well-being.

NIMBY said...

"I'm not in favor of abolishing [development]. I just want to shrink it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub."

-with apologies (!) to Grover Norquist

Anonymous said...

This is Anon 11:04 am again

"Everyone, including Ms. Adams, agrees on the need for development", says Anon 2:14 pm


You would have to ignore decades of Town Meeting obstructionism to believe that.

This fall Town Meeting inclusionary zoning article is intended to deter the building of housing, any housing. Period. The proponents won't tell you that, and, under the rules of Town Meeting, this can't be said from the floor.

Anonymous said...

There are members of Town Meeting, many of them who have served for many, many years, who would be happy if no new structures, including housing, were built in Amherst ever again.

And they are extremely skilled in working the warrant article process, and in parliamentary procedure, to bring about that result.

Just watch the meetings.