Saturday, September 24, 2016

The ARA Is Back

The ARA crown jewel:  Boltwood Project circa 1970s

The Amherst Redevelopment Authority, a quasi-state agency with the power of eminent domain, met for the first time in five years on Wednesday and discussed future projects based on areas of town that are "underdeveloped and underutilized."

The four elected members were present -- Jim Turner, Peggy Roberts, Pam Rooney and Pat Holland -- as well as Planning Board director Chris Brestrupt and senior Planner Jonathan Tucker and the town's economic development director Geof Kravitz.  

The Governor's appointee position (the 5th member) is currently vacant but already Paige Wilder, who lost to Pam Rooney a few years back, has applied for the position.  

The ARA was intensely active a half-dozen years ago with the Gateway Project where UMass was willing to donate former Frat Row on North Pleasant Street for a mixed use signature project that would have provided badly needed student housing and a "gateway" to downtown Amherst.

The well organized NIMBYs assailed the project for all the usual reasons and UMass withdrew the offer. 

These are the four areas that are  now on the to do list of the ARA:

Kellogg Ave between N. Pleasant and Smith Street bordered by West Cemetery
The Depot district bordered by rr tracks Dickinson and Main Streets
College Street around Eversource brick building (currently occupied by Amherst Media)
 North Amherst center behind the Library


Anonymous said...

The school project will require a Proposition 2 1/2 debt exclusion question on the November 8, 2016 State Election ballot for Amherst Voters. A forum on Wednesday, September 28, 7-9 p.m. in the Amherst Regional Middle School Auditorium, will give the community an opportunity to hear different views.

Anonymous said...

Eminent domain....something to be very wary of....a government forced sale of a property against the will of the owner at the rate the government decides vs. convincing the owner morally to sell by meeting or exceeding the market price. So many families ruined by this process vs. being compensated for their appropriate land acquisitions of the past.

The solution to NIMBY's is a significant reduction in land regulations - the source of the NIMBY special interest power - not another layer of government and potential takings, which in the end only creates more NIMBY's. The same regulations also prevented the community from quickly adapting to the increased housing and other needs.

Anonymous said...

The Kinder -Morgan cancelled pipeline was another form of private property dispossession - all for our gas to tyrants in Red China - be honest - Conzoids our brave boys died in Iraq for energy security !!

Anonymous said...

Office Space in Amherst with the driving/parking hassles?

Anonymous said...

1:21 may not completely understand "eminent domain" - it has "benevolent" side as well, which clears title of private liabilities (e.g. toxic clean-up) that no private parties would undertake - and this use is often sought out by private parties.

Anonymous said...

But let's be real, most eminent domain is done like zoning, to serve special interests at the expense of real owners. Not typically out of respect or need.

Allow your old tank in the basement to leak, let the local health department know and see how benevolent they are.

Your example is the exception, not the rule. A large department store can offer more taxes for the land you and your neighbors live on and the town can take the land to make it a department store, for the public good, because they offered more taxes. This happened less than 100 miles away and was well supported by the same courts that tolerate drunk drivers.

Anonymous said...

No man is an island.

Anonymous said...

The exceptional case is the one to which 10:06 alludes:

That case (and that peculiar use of eminent domain) remains controversial (the USSC decision was 5-4). I don't have statistics on how frequently "hostile" eminent domain is used, but "friendly" eminent domain (where all parties agree, in order to clear blemishes to land title) seems to be the most common use.