A moratorium on zoning changes

Published: 4/2/2021 5:01:18 PM The Amherst Town Council will soon consider doubling the already appreciable number of apartments th...

Published: 4/2/2021 5:01:18 PM

The Amherst Town Council will soon consider doubling the already appreciable number of apartments that can be built by right in neighborhoods zoned General Residence, which surround Amherst Center. General Residence has been singled out for greater density.

This may not be what homeowners expected when they purchased their homes. General Residence homes and lot sizes vary from small to large.

Regardless, more apartments and paved parking than imaginable could soon be allowed on these properties. My husband and I live in a small house in the neighborhood east of downtown. Residents are homeowners and renters primarily of small single-and two-family houses on relatively small lots. Increased density proposed for this neighborhood would negatively impact its community character. Homes could be demolished in favor of high-coverage multi-family structures with associated parking. The currently undeveloped parcels adjacent to owner-occupied homes could qualify for many apartments should the owners or their heirs decide to sell them. Green space such as it is would diminish.

It is reasonable to allow conversions of single-family homes and the addition of accessory residence structures to owner-occupied properties. It is reasonable to build larger multi-family dwellings on major streets, on the borders of neighborhoods with smaller dwellings, or adjacent to businesses. The zoning bylaw should not permit such structures on the few remaining undeveloped mid-block parcels that are amidst single and two-family houses. It should maintain the community character of neighborhoods, not invite infill of large-coverage structures designed for maximum density and developer profit.

I am sensitive to the need for increased affordable housing. Targeting only already denser General Residence neighborhoods is not the only way to achieve it. There are neighborhoods with large minimum lot sizes that could be decreased to invite smaller, less expensive homes without seriously crowding or compromising them. Proposed changes to the zoning bylaw are not good for General Residence neighborhoods or the town.

Given how COVID has transformed work and education, we have an opportunity to rethink Amherst. I propose a moratorium on zoning changes until we know more about how Amherst will evolve.

Myra Ross


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Newsrust - US Top News: A moratorium on zoning changes
A moratorium on zoning changes
Newsrust - US Top News
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