Kendrick Place continues to draw fire
Despite the objections from both the Chamber of Commerce and Business Improvement District the Amherst Planning Board voted unanimously 5-0 with two abstentions last night to recommend a zoning article to Town Meeting that would better define what constitutes a "mixed use" building.
Amherst Planning Board
The more restrictive aspects compared to current bylaw is the residential make up of the building would limit 4 bedroom units to no more than 25% of total units (for fear of student rentals by the bedroom) and the first floor must be 60% commercial vs the current vague rule that seems to allow an ATM or gumball machine to suffice.
Vince O'Connor spoke in favor of the article, specifically citing Kendrick Place as an example of what should be avoided in the future. And he lamented the loss of the Carriage Shops, which was entirely small business commercial shops, to be replaced by One East Pleasant, which is mostly residential.
Vince O'Connor: "Given the latitude for mixed use buildings there should be a better definition."
Although it remains to be seen if these new regulations if passed by Town Meeting (requires a two thirds vote) would apply to One East Pleasant Street, the companion project -- although much larger -- to Kendrick Place. Developers of those two projects, Kyle Wilson and David Williams, were in the audience last night but did not speak.
Last year Town Meeting voted down a citizens petition article that was far more restrictive in defining what constitutes a mixed use building, so this Planning Board article is considered a good faith compromise.
Kind of like fighting fire with fire.