Thursday, April 16, 2015

Open Space Slam Dunk

Owen's Pond top center

The acquisition of open space is a double edged sword, especially in a town more than half-owned by tax exempt entities.

Yes, it's beautiful and adds to the quality of life -- especially for immediate neighbors -- but it does not financially contribute to the General Fund for basic services like police, fire and DPW.

Regarding the 32 acre Hall property purchase for "conservation and public passive recreation purposes" Community Preservation Act Committee Chair Mary Streeter repeated stated that her committee has never seen such public support for a proposal.

 Gull Pond (right) Stavros Center, also a tax exempt, on left

And since the state is financing two-thirds of the $340K purchase price the $105,995 requested from CPA funds will fly through Town Meeting faster than a seagull targeting junk food.

The property near Owen's Pond was approved for a 14-house subdivision 25 years ago but is no particular "danger" at the moment of being developed.  And of course that is the #1 reason why Amherst housing is so damn expensive.

Too much demand and not enough supply.

Yet when a developer comes along and tries to increase density in the Village Centers, so that we can safely preserve outlying open space, the NIMBY machine gears up for war. 

Life is a balance, and Amherst land use is out of whack.

The much maligned 5-story mixed-use Kendrick Place (top center)


Jessica Mix Barrington said...

No, Amherst cannot have enough open space.

Larry Kelley said...

Or as the plant in Little Shop of Horrors would say, "Feed me!"

Anonymous said...

Towns don't need to grow forever. They can be finite.

Larry Kelley said...

Tell that to UMass.

Anonymous said...

"Amherst cannot have enough open space".

Let's think about that statement for a moment.

Troll of the day said...

Jessica, that's super. I'm thinking that maybe you could donate your home to the town so that we can clear the lot for your neighbors to walk their dogs on.

And 11:28, shall we outsource our growth somewhere else? Maybe have a 1 child policy? I'm sure we would all love to hear your suggestions. In any case I can think of a way to reduce Amherst's population by one person...

Anonymous said...

One person's no-growth policy is another person's gated community.

Anonymous said...

Gated communities - YES. How about a solar farm on Owens Pond lot?

Anonymous said...

Keep up the good work Amherst. Lots of conservation land, not enough student housing, student housing encroaching on every part of town. People with school aged children moving out faster than ever.

Eventually you will be left with a town full of student rented homes and lots of fields to party in. Perfect. Best part is the schools won't have any children but Maria will still need 50 million a year to run the place.

Anonymous said...

You can see the deterioration in the housing along West Street (Route 116) driving south from the former Grist Mill at least as far as the Hess gas station. There are many houses which were once single family homes with children attending Crocker that are now student slums.

Anonymous said...

The people use the services, not the houses, simply tax the person for their share of the town's expenses, leave their property out of it (or it is not really theirs right).

Pretty simple, $100 needed, 100 people, $1 per person, exemption or loans for the poor.

Houses don't demand services.

Now ignore this post and get to SOP. Take take take, I want want want.