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Deborah Rubin: Landmark project picks wrong housing location

To the editor:

I’m a Cushman resident who is opposed to the Landmark “Retreat” for 700 students. I read with interest the article “Game changers: Who are the investors altering Amherst neighborhoods?” Turning neighborhood houses into student rentals with absentee landlords is nothing new. It has happened all over the country in university towns.

Unfortunately, the landlords see good monetary value and students want to live close to the universities and businesses. If the university and town think students will leave the close proximity to the University of Massachusetts Amherst for remote housing on the outskirts of Amherst like the one proposed at Cushman, I think they will be fooled.

Students will always want to live nearby. Location. Location. Location.

I understand that in interviews, students have said The Retreat is too far from campus. We are all concerned about the out-of-control partying that occurs in Amherst. Unfortunately with Twitter and Facebook, partying can go global quickly.

We can’t stop students from using their cell phones. The town and university need to come together and have a serious joint plan to address the many problems. A joint effort to build new off-campus housing within reach of UMass and downtown would be a start.

Deborah Rubin

Amherst

With buses, and cars, I don't think the students will find The Retreat too far from campus. We want things to stay the same in town, but it's not our job to micromanage, or is our right. We have lives better than many others, and I see a distinct lack of gratitude on the part of many Amherst residents. The more we resist change, the worse problems with the students will become. As an example of change, I've lived in Amherst 51 years. The road I live on was a meandering back road with potholes. Over the years it has been steadily improved, so much so that it is now a major artery, and all day, and for at least part of the night I listen to traffic. I've found that it doesn't bother me that much. There was never a guarantee that I settled here things would stay the same. Things could be worse. We could live a bad part of Holyoke. Count your blessings.

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