Amherst does not need a parking garage. This is supported by the Nelson/Nygard (N/N) studies. Garage proponents need to provide evidence to document their contention that the N/N conclusions are wrong. They need to try the N/N solutions for perceived parking problems before pursuing a parking garage on the town lot on N. Prospect Street behind CVS.
A garage would be too big for that small site and would have restricted access and egress. The site is surrounded by narrow streets that are too small to handle more traffic and are lined with parking spaces that would likely be lost if a garage were built.
A four story garage would dwarf the 1750’s era Simeon Strong House/ Amherst Historical Museum to its south and undermine the N. Prospect Stree. Residential General – RG – neighborhood, notable for its variety of housing options, Local Historic District and homes on the National Register of Historic Places.
Incoming District 3 Town Councilor Jennifer Taub has noted that there is no zoning on the books in Amherst that permits the kind of structure that is planned adjacent to an RG street which is why the sponsors have proposed a parking facility overlay which waives set back and other dimensional requirements.
Here is what the Planning Board and the Community Resources Committee and the Town Council and the BID and the Chamber and other proponents of building the garage on N. Prospect Street should do before continuing with their efforts to rush this decision through. Begin at the beginning with clear site visits to specific places that are being proposing for rezoning and look and try to feel what it is like for the people who live in those places now and what it would be like for the property and the people if the project they are proposing is adopted.
The photos that follow give a feel for the damage to the neighborhood that the construction of a four story garage across the street from these historic homes would bring.