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Michael Birtwistle: ‘Retreat’ is a bad idea that shouldn’t happen

To the editor:

How could anyone think it’s a good idea to put 700 well-to-do college students in a gated community in the middle of the North Amherst woods without adult supervision?

But, you say, Landmark promises supervision? They’ll take care of their property, you can be sure, but I doubt they’ll have much concern for the welfare of the 700 students. Or for the small community on which they intend to foist their “Retreat”.

Well, on the plus side, it makes a lot of money for the largest landowner in the entire state of Massachusetts.

And it expands the empire of an out-of-state corporation whose business model is to build huge collections of mini-dorms near major universities and quickly sell them off to other out-of-state “managers.”

Perhaps it may bring tax revenue to Amherst, but at what cost? There will be additional drain on the town’s fire, police and ambulance services; heavy additional usage of North Amherst’s already stressed road system; irrecoverable damage to passive recreation areas. Have you figured out these costs?

Don’t let this happen. It’s a really bad idea, designed solely to enrich the few at the expense of the people of Amherst.

Michael Birtwistle


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