Letter: Support Revote On Overlay Zoning For Parking Garage

Sketch of proposed parking garage as it would be seen from the rear of CVS. Drawing: Pam Rooney

I support the current, urgent voter veto petition to require a revote on the rezoning of the town lot of North Prospect Street ,that was rushed through at the outgoing town council’s final meeting.  A successful petition would require the town council “reconsider its vote”, of  20 December 2021, to rezone the town parking lot behind the downtown CVS. (see the Amherst Town Charter, Section 8/. (a).).  The rezoning’s purpose is to allow a developer to construct a 4-story parking garage on the site.

This town parking lot is narrow. Construction machines would need to use the contiguous parking lot directly behind the CVS. This is because, per Town Planning Director Christine Brestrup, ramps for a garage would require building right up to the Town’s lot lines.

I understand that the free CVS parking lot is important enough to the CVS, that it might have to close if the parking garage is built.

Many elders live downtown and do not drive. They rely on the CVS for grocery shopping. If the CVS closes, where are they supposed to shop? Where will they get their prescriptions filled?

These questions are vital. Town Council apparently voted without having considered them. More fundamentally, it appears not to have considered whether Amherst even needs a parking garage, either there or at all.

Many Amherst voters are collecting petition signatures.  I have placed by my front door voter veto peitions that you can sign any time before late Sunday afternoon. There’s also a folder for any petitions that you may have printed yourself and signed..  A list of addresses where petitions can be picked up or dropped off can be found here.

Sarah McKee has lived in Amherst for more than 20 years. She is a former President of the Jones Library Trustees, and is a member of the D.C. Bar.

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