Tuesday, April 22, 2014
To the editor:
On March 27 at two separate meetings, a representative from Mass Development discussed the proposed Northampton Village Hill 73 house expansion and emergency veterinary hospital. These plans had virtually no input from the residents who live here. The Community Advisory Board has not met in more than two years. When the Mass Development representative was asked, she stated its initial function was to review the master plan, but once accomplished, it had no role to play.
We know more houses are to be built. The current master plan projects 42 new houses; but now it is 73. Consequently, an untold number of trees will be cut down, severely diminishing the beauty of the neighborhood and reducing the number of trails which are used by residents and non-residents every day. In response, Mass Development says it is adhering to the principles of new urbanism, i.e. clustered housing.
But new urbanism calls for clustered housing within open space. Their response: “this is what we think is best for the community.” When we discussed the veterinary hospital, questions were raised about noise. They said good insulation will be used; ill or hurt animals do not make much noise; and we think this is “the best for the community.”
Furthermore, they plan to build a hospital parking lot which will require the tearing down of tall, beautiful pine trees. I am not suggesting there should be no further development; nor are all of the proposed projects “wrong.” But I do think the residents of Village Hill should have input at every stage: planning, development and implementation. When Mass Development repeatedly utters, in response to questions, this is what we think is best for the community, I have to wonder, how do they know and which community are they talking about.