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Amherst, UMass seek consultant for study of housing, economic development options



Saturday, February 01, 2014
AMHERST — Housing needs for college students as well as residents and economic development in the community will be the focus of a joint town-gown study.

The $60,000 study, supported by the town and the University of Massachusetts, is expected to get underway next month, with consultants submitting proposals by Feb. 14 and selected by the end of February.

The decision on which consultant to hire will be made jointly by UMass Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy and Amherst Town Manager John Musante, with input from a steering committee that has put together the scope of services for the work.

The study is to be completed in the spring, with a presentation to the committee by April 15 and ready for public unveiling by May 15.

Musante said it is an ambitious time line, but one that can be met.

The housing portion of the study asks the consultant to identify “specific locations, throughout the community, to consider for rezoning, development or redevelopment consistent with the town and/or UMass master plans and national college town best practices.” This may include on-campus private and UMass-built student development, off-campus student housing, private housing affiliated with UMass and market-rate housing.

The economic development section asks the consultant to identify “various, specific locations throughout the town for the community to consider for economic development projects consistent with the town and/or UMass master plans and national college town best practices.” These could include research development spinoffs, state initiatives, student recreation venues and retail and service businesses.