Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Damn Developers!

Kendrick Place, north town center (before the snowstorm)

The backlash over Planning Board approval of Kendrick Place, a 5-story "mixed use" commercial building with 36 units of rental apartments, and the much l-a-r-g-e-r One East Pleasant Street (80 rental units), which is already delayed by a nuisance lawsuit filed by a disgruntled competitor, has now taken a more ominous form:

Two poison pill zoning articles filed yesterday by Mary Wentworth designed to prevent any such projects from being approved in the future.

 Proposed One East Pleasant Street (also north town center)

Since both projects are located in the downtown "Municipal Parking District" they are not required to provide any parking, although the proposed One East Pleasant will have 36 onsite spaces available.

 Article #1 strike "residential" from parking exemptions in downtown

Under Ms. Wentworth's zoning article #1 developers would be required to provide parking for every single resident, and zoning article #2 gives a higher threshold of commercial space required (thus dramatically reducing rental housing units) for a "mixed use" designation and would require a harder to get "Special Permit".

 Article #2: increase % of commercial, require Special Permit from ZBA

Since these two Archipelago Investments, LLC projects are already approved, they would of course be grandfathered. 

A zoning article requires a two-thirds vote of Town Meeting, so the chances of these articles passing this coming spring are not all that good.

Most of the rational pro-development zoning measures that have come before Town Meeting have failed because of the high hurdle of a two-thirds super majority, but they almost always attracted a majority vote.

Now at least, the shoe is on the other foot. 

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Time to put your toy away. You seem to be drone obsessed.

Larry Kelley said...

Tool, not toy.

And like any tool, it can be misused. (Not by me of course.)

Anonymous said...

Guess what she doesn't see is that asking for parking and more retail only makes Amherst busier and more messy loking and then what will happen to this "beautiful" town.

Max Hartshorne said...

Anon 2:37 you're wrong sir. That drone photo is very insightful and I want him to continue posting drone shots. Expose it all!

Anonymous said...

I think that since it is a done deal, the focus now can be on the positive effects that the developments will bring. There is going to be a lot more pedestrian traffic downtown, and that should spur more restaurant, retail, and social activity. I'm sure that the area will be much more lively year 'round and sooner than later the cynics will be pleased with the results. Richard Marsh.

Anonymous said...

Minimum parking requirements emphasise the car over human beings. It destroys towns and cities.

I hope this does not occur, for Amherst's sake...

Anonymous said...

It would be cool if you got a aerial drone shot of the white house. :)

Anonymous said...

This town needs development. It needs to grow. What the people who try to block all these developments do not see is that they will lower taxes and bring people into Amherst for other reasons than College/University related things. Buildings can be built to look great. Look at the architecture of some of the new buildings being built in downtown Northampton and Florence, not only do these new buildings blend into the city very nicely but they provide space for business and for living space. Residents of Amherst need to realize this and stop being so opposed to change.

Anonymous said...

rational's in the eye of the beholder

(opinionated journalism, but so is "the economist" - you're in good company, larry)

Anonymous said...

Development will lower taxes? How naive can you get? Will never happen, not for us homeowners. Amherst schools' bitching and moaning will take care of that in an override vote or something similar.

Anonymous said...

The tipping point is when someone decides to start a grocery store in the downtown Amherst area, akin to State Street Fruit Store in Northampton. Then, with the movie theater and the library right there, and buses traveling to Northampton, many people might decide that they can live downtown without owning a car.


Anonymous said...

More pedestrian traffic? You have to have something worth walking to and Amherst lacks much of that after one walk proves. No, people will be getting in their cars to drive to places that offer more than a Subway and a crummy doughnut shop.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting that the same people who are looking to impose parking requirements on new buildings are the same people who have been in Town Meeting (and at the recent parking forums) vehemently opposing ANY new public parking in town.

This is the "fight it every which way" strategy intended to thwart any kind of development in Amherst, a strategy that has been perfected for decades in our Town Meeting. The strategy is marked by warrant articles which purport to be reform efforts (allegedly mere tweaks to zoning by-laws), which are in actuality intended to stop ALL development in its tracks, by enacting conditions and standards that developers cannot meet.

There is a significant contingent in Amherst Town Meeting (perhaps more than 1/3 of the body) that wants to maintain it as a cow town with 3 colleges attached.

Michael W Dane said...

Comprehensive zoning reform being proposed at the state level would reduce the zoning change requirement to a simple majority.