South Prospect Street
The Planning Board approved 1.5 of 3 petition articles all seeking to change zoning from limited business (BL) to general business (BG) on the outskirts of the downtown to encourage the development of mixed use buildings which would bring more employees and residents to the downtown while paying significantly higher property taxes.
Currently the Amherst property tax base is made up of 90% residential and only 10% commercial.
The change to BG zoning would allow for denser development, aka taller five story buildings, with greater lot coverage, giving developers an incentive to put their property to a higher and better use.
Triangle and Cottage Streets
The Planning Board unanimously voted not to approve the zoning change for the east side of Triangle Street because they were worried about the mostly owner occupied homes along Cottage Street.
But they did approve the change on the east side of South Prospect Street and about half of the requested change along North Pleasant Street but only for properties on the south side of Hallock Street.
These parcels are of course that much closer to the heart of the downtown and just last month the Planning Board approved Special Permits for 236 North Pleasant that allows developers Barry Roberts and Curt Shumway to have one addition floor, going from three to four.
West side North Pleasant Street from Cowls Lane down to Hallock but not north of there
The Historical Commission enacted a one year delay back in January on the project so it would be kind of ironic if that delay ends up benefiting the local developers should the zoning change -- which requires a two thirds Town Meeting vote -- passes.
The zoning article petitioner, Jerry Guidera, confirmed he will trim back that particular article to only include the properties south of Hallock Street, but will continue to move forward with the Triangle Street rezoning in spite of the unanimous vote against it by the Planning Board.
And considering how Town Meeting often does just the opposite of Planning Board recommendations, that may not be such a bad thing.