Strong House to rear and west of Jones Library
It's been a bad week for the Amherst Historical Society, owner of the Strong House Museum adjacent to the Jones Library, and by extension a not so great week for the Library.
On Monday in a marathon 3.5 hour meeting the Community Preservation Act Committee failed to fund an $18,000 request from the Historical Society to fund needed legal work to "clear the deed" of the Strong House which came to them donated -- but with a do not disturb provision.
Without being able to legally break the will they would not be able to sell property at the rear and east of the Strong House for the Jones Library expansion.
Additionally, at tonight's Trustees Meeting they learned from Jones Library Director Sharon Sharry the selling of the land would make the Strong House "non conforming" in the current R-G (residential) zoning.
Thus the Historical Society will now be requesting a zoning change at a Special Town Meeting to occur in the middle of the regular Spring Town Meeting to change the zoning to B-G (business).
This of course requires a two-thirds vote.
Former long time Gazette/Bulletin house & gardens columnist Cheryl Wilson reads statement of concern about gardens
To make matters worse the first 25 minutes of the meeting was taken up by concerned members of the Amherst Garden Club and other patrons over the fate of the Kinsey Garden and the Strong House 18th Century Garden, which seem to sit in the way of the proposed expansion.
Jones Library Trustees (President, Austin Sarat on right)
The Trustees did vote unanimously to allow Chair Austin Sarat to issue a statement of support for a zoning change after the Historical Society meets on Tuesday and issues their zoning change request to the Amherst Planning Board.
Furthermore the Trustees also unanimously supported a Memorandum Of Understanding with the Historical Society concerning the possible purchase of the property.
Strong House front yard all the way to Amity Street not part of the sale