Friday, December 9, 2016

Just Build It!

Former sawmill property currently pays $10,000 annually in taxes
North Square at Mill District will pay over $500,000 annually in property tases

The good folks from Beacon Communities completed an exhausting trifecta this week with professional presentations to the Select Board on Monday, Planning Board on Wednesday and the second of three appearances before the all important ZBA last night.

And as usual the NIMBYs were out in force.

The North Square development is seeking a Comprehensive Permit to allow the 130 unit project to move forward.  Located on a 5 acre former industrial site with relatively flat terrain and good soil conditions the $45 million project would address two BIG problems in our little college town:

Over half our property is owned by tax exempts -- mainly our institutes of higher education -- so those of us on the tax rolls have to shoulder more of the burden.  And of the 50% of us on the tax rolls 90% is residential and only 10% commercial.

Former sawmill will be demolished 

The Beacon Project is mixed use with commercial on the ground floor or 20% of the entire project, which will of course feed off the other 80% that is residential.

Amherst currently has an 11.3% Subsidized Housing Inventory but the ONLY reason it is still above the 10% threshold (avoiding a Ch40B development) is because Beacon purchased Rolling Green Apartments 2.5 years ago and kept all 204 units on the SHI.

The 26 units of subsidized housing would be a significant contribution to that under served demographic since the 42 unit Olympia Oaks went online 18 months ago.

But because of the state and federal money involved the entire 130 housing units -- not just the 26 affordable ones -- will count towards the town's SHI thus guaranteeing protection from a hostile Ch40B for many, many years to come.

Beacon purchased Rolling Green for $30.25 million ($1.25 million of town CPA $) thus keeping it on our Subsidized Housing Inventory

Unfortunately in this town anti-development sentiment is an ingrained religion which does not differentiate between visionary projects like this one proposed by Beacon Communities and quick-buck cookie cutter projects  targeting our #1 demographic,  college aged youth.

 Zoning Board of Appeals last night

The ZBA should send a positive message to responsible developers state wide and wholeheartedly support North Square at Mill District with a unanimous vote on January 5th.

ZBA presenters (front row) and audience last night


Anonymous said...

This is where this blog performs an important public service. These are the unheralded points in the road where the future of the Town is shaped, depending on how we view potential revenue sources that can help residential taxpayers cover the bills for what we all want. You snooze, you lose.

Rich Morse

Larry Kelley said...

Two compliments within a week. I'm on a roll!

Dr. Ed said...

Where will housing demand be in 15 years? In other words, when the Baby Boomers are either dead or in some kind of custodial care, there won't be the market for housing which currently exists in Amherst. Likewise, the folks moving from Metro NYC to Amherst because they think it is "safer" are learning it isn't.

Anyone remember Brittany Manor? Built circa 1974, it collapsed 20 years later as UM enrollments shrank as the Baby Boom ended -- and the Baby Boomlet is now ending. This is how Amherst wound up with Southpoint....

So Cindi's units will be priced above college students -- Whom will they be rented to in 2030? Or 2026 for that matter...

Who would want to live out there, and why? Even if UMass doesn't shrink, it increasingly is going "on line" and when (not "if") the new Hamp/SPD high speed rail connects with similar service from BOS & Hartford, you'll have even more professors commuting to campus. Remember, these trains have Wifi, you can correct work and answer email from train.

If the professors aren't in AMM, then those who service them won't be either.

So whom will be renting these places?

Anonymous said...

Ed you don't need to worry about 2030 cause hopefully you will be gone by then. Ed can you name one person who respects You? Mothers don't count!

Anonymous said...

Oh Ed. !!!!
You miserable little demented soul. You keep hoping for the demise of Amherst !!
You will be long gone , buried in you mothers back yard before you witness any of your wishful rants !
"Give me what I want " is your cry !! You have it, a B.S. from UMass in BS !!
You have your job in the corner store in York Me. , now move along. North Amherst is a moving on up, and you just wish you were here !!

Build baby, build! said...

"Ed can you name one person who respects You?"

Ed, never mind the subhumans. I respect you.

-Squeaky Squeaks

p.s. Es ist unmenschlich, da zu segnen, wo Einem geflucht wird.

Anonymous said...

Ahh...the respect of squeaky...enough said!

Dr. Ed said...

I don't want to be admired, I want to be right.

I haven't been wrong, yet, and don't think I am on this.

Oh, and as to crime:

No arrested driver of the killer truck.
No arrest of the other Ninjas.
No arrests of the drug dealers.
No explanation of the shooting.

And it's now nearly 2017.

Anonymous said...

Ed you were right once....when you decided not to reproduce! Oh yeah....that probably wasn't your choice!

Anonymous said...

Ed, you the know the cool part is that is 20 years it will only be the the landlord that needs to be concerned. Even if run down...which it wont be, the town can buy and bulldose it for a small fraction of the taxes. Not a public concern...on the way in or out.

The real concern is where to get large sized timbers, Cowls was a great resource.

Dr. Ed said...

the town can buy and bulldose it for a small fraction of the taxes.

No. Taxes are a percentage of evaluation, what the town swears it is worth.

You can't then turn around and claim the property is worth only a small fraction of what you have been evaluating it at. Notwithstanding that, if you did, everyone else in town would demand their evaluation be reduced by the same amount -- tax base goodbye.

Cinda Jones said...

Just this week Ed it was reported that boomer's kids are a bigger generation than boomers and they're about to have kids. That's why housing and schools need to be planned for.

volare said...

Knowing Cowl's is gone is quite a sting.

Dr. Ed said...

"Just this week Ed it was reported that boomer's kids are a bigger generation than boomers"

I've heard this tossed around and I'd want to see what it is based upon, starting with how one defines "boomer's kids." 2.2 children per woman is constant population and we've been averaging less than 2 since the '80's so I can't see how the children outnumber the parents.

Besides, if they did, then the Ponzi scheme known as Social Security wouldn't be looking at going bust because the number paying in (circa 2030) would still exceed those receiving it -- and politicians of all stripes would be singing this from the rafters.

So I'm a bit skeptical of this "report."

"and they're about to have kids."

Perhaps if wages improve, but right now you have a generation of young people saddled with massive debt (not just student loan) and relatively low wages, I can't see them adding the expenses of children to this.

There weren't a whole lot of children born during the First Great Depression -- very few people were born between 1930 & 1945 because people simply didn't have the money. People don't now, either...

Above and beyond this, you're talking Micro rather than Macro -- North Amherst and not the Northeast -- where population is declining. (That's why Massachusetts lost a Congress District a few years back.)

Anonymous said...

Ms. Jones....don't dirty yourself responding to Ed! He is oooohweee!

Anonymous said...

If Amherst is over 10%, why does Chapter 40B apply at all???

Dr. Ed said...

Yes Cinda, et al-- ignore this:

The warm bodies don't exist -- how UMass can continue to expand is beyond me.

Anonymous said...

If this is a friendly 40B, what's an unfriendly one like? What makes this housing for families? It's 1 and 2 beds. What rents?

Anonymous said...

3 acres of backlot in a hill town would be about $4000 in taxes a year- so the millzone should be about $ 350,000 a year to be market value for taxes !!