Friday, January 8, 2016

Rezone This?

The 5.8 acre parcel is sandwiched between two major commercial developments

Fresh off his setback at the Amherst Historical Commission Demo Delay Hearing the night before, local attorney Tom Reidy appeared before the Planning Board Wednesday night to request they sponsor a Town Meeting zoning change article for a 5.8 acres site -- wide open but wet -- on University Drive.

The property is currently zoned Professional Office Park and the new potential owners would like it rezoned to Limited Business which would allow for the construction of an apartment complex, presumably, gasp, student housing.

In 2010 a divided Planning Board (5-3) supported just such a warrant article but it was defeated on the floor of Amherst Town Meeting where any zoning change requires a two-thirds vote of support, a high hurdle to clear.

The nearest business owner to the south adamantly opposed the rezoning due to concerns about storm water runoff.  

The project proposed at the time was for 44 units of subsidized senior housing at the back of the property and a mixed use retail/market rate housing project fronting University Drive. 

According to the assessor the property is still owned by Mohammad Idrees and it's in (farmland) Chapter 61, so assessed at $3,600, thus generating only $76 in taxes this year.

A major housing development would probably be assessed in the $10 million range and pay upwards of $200,000 annually in property taxes.


Kevin said...

Opponents who file frivolous delays for personal reasons should pay the $200,000 in lost property taxes when those cases are thrown out of court. Because they don't care about anyone but themselves, in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Build it, fools!!!

Anonymous said...

This seems like the PERFECT spot for student housing AND would contribute to Amherst tax revenue. Which probably means it will be defeated by Town Meeting regardless of who sponsors the article.

Anonymous said...

A great idea. Good location.

Anonymous said...

How about a water park! Location seems a match.

Anonymous said...

why would the change in zoning from "office park" cause more storm water run-off? Is that a reasonable objection? or just NIMBY?

Larry Kelley said...

The act itself of rezoning would not increase run off.

It's the resulting buildings and parking lot pavement not allowed by current zoning that would.

Anonymous said...

That's what lanscape design is for. To develop run-off mitigation.

Larry Kelley said...


I'm told the drainage pipes are half the size they should be so as long as the new owners don't mind investing money in upgrading the drainage system, it's a problem that can be solved.