I recently announced that if elected I will call for a temporary moratorium on new approvals for downtown development until the Council votes on new zoning. I’m not against development. But I want new buildings to be suited to the inviting, historic character of Amherst as well as to be more sustainable.
The reason we now have 5-story buildings with almost no set back and limited parking is because that’s what our zoning bylaw allows. I think we need to pause when we take office and reset our standards for downtown development. The Master plan posed density downtown and in village centers with the rationale that this would encourage walkable, bikeable living spaces, help preserve our open space and take pressure off single family homes turning into student rentals.
Before building more of the same, I want to take a step back and evaluate the success of this approach and the will of the people of Amherst.