Letter: Moratorium Will Create Space To Align Zoning With Community Needs


Photo: The Noun Project. Creative Commons

Editor’s note:  The following letter was sent to the Amherst Town Council on March 19, 2021.

After attending multiple Zoom presentations of both the Town Council and the Planning Board concerning development in the town center, we support the building moratorium proposed by Councilors Darcy DuMont, Cathy Schoen, and Dorothy Pam.  We do so because of the many reasons previously expressed by residents during those presentations.  We have lived on Cottage Street for 38 years and were employed at the regional high school for 30 years.  Our intention to stay in our home after retirement is clearly based on the “cultural, historical, educational and natural resources” noted in the moratorium proposal.  We do not believe consideration has been given to these vital areas in the development proposals we have seen thus far.  

We are also deeply troubled by the exodus of small businesses due to the planned development.  We hear town officials touting “walkability” as a basis for adding residential units in the town center.  Although we support affordable housing wherever and whenever feasible, we have to ask the question, “walk to what?”  There is ONE convenience store remaining within walking distance of town residents.  With the present development proposals, we stand to lose that convenience store, a family restaurant, two banks, a family insurance company, and medical offices.  What have we gained? A bar.  This hardly bodes well for a place where “ people want to and (are) able to live, work, retire, study and visit.”   

We ask that you adopt the building moratorium in order to pursue housing projects which will be “ aligned with a vision of the direction of change and what we hope for Amherst in the future,” as put forth in the moratorium proposal.  

Thank you,

Janet Elias Saulsberry
Gaylord Saulsberry

Janet and Gaylord Saulsberry have been residents of Amherst for 38 years.

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