Saturday, September 3, 2016

Drawing Fire

Sawmill will be demolished to make way for project

It didn't take long for NIMBYs to voice their public comment about Beacon Communities proposed 130 unit development in North Amherst and as usual complaints included traffic, noise, and the fear of more college aged youth moving to their neighborhood.

 NIMBYs invaded 8/29 Select Board meeting

The main suggestion was to downsize considerably the number of housing units by as much as 50%. Since the project includes a significant affordable housing component it has to be a sizable number of total units to make up for the low cost ones.

And since Amherst has an across the board housing shortage, any increase is a good thing. Beacon is using a "friendly 40B" approach to get needed concessions on height, set back and lot coverage in order to make the project work.

If the state grants them clearance they must still get approval from our Zoning Board of Appeals but unlike a normal hearing where a Special Permit requires a unanimous vote this would only require a two-thirds vote.

Yesterday the town filed a MassWorks grant proposal for $1 million to redo the funky North Amherst main intersection of Montague & Sunderland Roads with Meadow Street, North Pleasant and Pine Streets.

Sunderland and Montague Road branch off after intersection of Pine/Meadow/North Pleasant

And the state does heavily weigh future economic development before issuing the grants.

Neighbors are concerned that the town has formed an unholy alliance with Beacon and Cowls (the landowner) in order to acquire the grant and that will unduly influence the ZBA.

 Click to enlarge/read

A few years ago these same NIMBYs successfully shot down zoning changes that would have led to more development in North Amherst and as a result the state twice turned down our $4 million MassWorks grant to rehab Pine Street.


Anonymous said...

I still think Amherst should go with a real rotary at the art 63 intersection - what a plethora of alcohol and now inner city urban pedestrians - slow those speedsters down - residential commercial zone today !!!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the baby steps proposed by this blog and the quite similar NIMBYs are wasteful and we should just go full on socialist and simply end exclusive ownership of stuff. The government has both the firepower, the man power and it looks like it has the support of the people and media locally....time to make it happen.

Or alternatively we could live in a peaceful community where people are allowed to own stuff and decide what to do with it... even perhaps say what they want without permission.

Anonymous said...

Looks like a great project that meets a real need. It also will help Atkins North have enough business to survive.

Anonymous said...

I think I have lost the will to comment anymore!

Anonymous said...

I'd worry about HazMat/Brownfield issues -- as late as the 1980's, boards were sprayed with something quite Carcinogenic to kill bugs or worms or something, and it dripped off the stacked lumber over the years.

A lot of nasty chemicals likely were used in an earlier era, not to mention cleaning solvents used to clean saw blades and the rest. This was an industrial site for how many years?

Ever notice how not even weeds grow where the lumber used to be? There very likely is a reason for that....

Anonymous said...

I think it's a native American burial site!

Anonymous said...

I used to drink beer there. There may be broken glass.

Where the hell is Dr. Ed.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Ed is now anonymous.