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Letters

Amherst housing
problems run deep

To the Bulletin:

Section 8 housing and student housing are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to problems with Amherst real estate. The fact that Amherst, specifically Town Meeting, is keeping land from being developed is a big tragedy. We have golf courses, conservation land and farm land that is locked up from being developed. When we speak of developers is it sometimes a dirty word? Yes, but we can’t hide behind well-intentioned political beliefs and say that Amherst is for us and nobody else. Fortunately or unfortunately, do we have control over what developers will do with the land? No, but locking up land from development is unfair. Will it change the character of the town if we allow more development? Quite possibly. But it seems ironic that many who are against development in town stand for progressive values, while all the time they saying this town is for them only.

Tom McBride

Amherst

Cushman student
housing unwelcomed

To the Bulletin:

I have lived in Cushman on Bridge Street for 33 years and have always appreciated and enjoyed the character of our village. Most people in town have become aware that there is a proposed development of 140 units designed to house around 600 students on the Jones land here. I am not alone in being alarmed at what this influx will do to our quality of life.

Last Saturday I was driving on Meadow Street going toward Route 116 at 5:20 p.m. Traffic was backed up and almost stalled in both directions because of police cars parked along the street. I think there were around a dozen cruisers, both town and state vehicles. The police were walking along the street and on the lawn of the big housing development in teams of four dressed in riot gear with face shields and helmets. There were scores of students, perhaps a hundred or more, milling about, some obviously intoxicated. The display of green clothing indicated that this was part of the pre-St. Patrick’s Day “Blarney Blowout.”

Because of my concern about the possibility of 600 students in the proposed development off Henry Street, I found this Saturday afternoon spectacle very disturbing. I can only imagine the chaos of an intense concentration of intoxicated students in peaceful little Cushman Village on a warm March day celebrating “Barney Blowout.” I wonder if we can learn how many police were in similar places around town that afternoon trying to keep order and safety and at what cost. And I wonder why the University of Massachusetts does not build housing for its students so that the town doesn’t have to turn into an unsupervised dormitory destroying the peace of Amherst’s citizens… need I say “tax-paying citizens.”

Angela Fina
Amherst

Students seek to have
political impact

To the Bulletin:

A large contingent of University of Massachusetts and Hampshire College students joined other Amherst residents Saturday as we canvassed the town seeking support for Congressman Ed Markey’s candidacy for the U.S. Senate. In fact, the event was coordinated by students from UMass and Hampshire college. These are the same students who were very active in Senator Elizabeth Warren’s successful Senatorial campaign. Their involvement in the democratic process was quite a contrast to that of students who need few excuses to behave badly.

All too often, the visible immature behavior of some students, as well as the debris they leave behind, overshadows the efforts of many more students who quietly seek a good education and choose to make a positive contribution to society.

Rob Snyder

Amherst

Proposed rental
regulations unfair

To the Bulletin:

I am a tenant in Amherst, and have been off and on since 2007. I am incredibly disturbed by this drafted regulation from the Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods Working Group. It’s a misguided attempt to punish a few landlords and tenants that creates problems for potentially thousands of residents n Amherst. People who sit on the working group seem to think that these regulations are fair, and that they are things “reasonable people will think are reasonable.” I’m a reasonable person, and these regulations are not reasonable.

First of all, the working group consists of over a dozen people, but no tenants. They are the ones affected by the cost of permitting, unnecessary paving and other regulation, as you can bet that landlords will pass the costs down the line.

Most of the provisions and enforcement abilities in this legislation are already covered by federal and state landlord/tenant law, or can be taken up by the Zoning Board or other existent legal structures. This regulation creates unnecessary bureaucracy.

A comment was made by one of the committee members that if landlords were already following the law, they would have no problem, because some of these are redundant rules. Why are we coming up with rules that already exist? We should be building targeted tools to deal with issues that exist in the community, rather than trying to take punitive measures against a whole population.

The working group has a long way to go before it anywhere close to “fair” or “reasonable.” I look forward to reading the next draft of the document, which should be a blank sheet of paper on which we can start over.

Jacob Lefton

Amherst

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