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Louise Lavine: Don’t let large student city be built in Cushman

To the editor:

There is nothing good about the Retreat development. It goes against the Master Plan,hurts the surrounding neighborhoods, increases traffic dramatically,and pushes large numbers of students into more areas of town. A more modest proposal of a dozen or so single family homes on that land would be acceptable. It would be appropriate to the homes already in Cushman. It would provide homes for families who would support the schools and businesses in town. The Retreat is not acceptable.

Why are the Select Board and the Town Manager letting this happen? An recent editorial in this paper implied that it will happen because if the Retreat is rejected, Cynda Jones will just go on to further, and worse developments. Blackmail is usually a crime, not a reason to back down. It would be nice if the Jones’ felt a sense of civic responsibility since they are the largest landowners. But if they don’t, we need town leaders who can protect the town.

Is there a way to decide which land close to UMass is the best site for high density apartments and work to that end, and to restrict such development elsewhere in Amherst? There is so much land close to UMass that seems perfect for student housing: on Eastman hill, on University Drive, on Mass Avenue. There must be a way to have a private public partnership that builds needed student housing near UMass. And which keeps Amherst neighborhoods good places for families to live in without fear that they will be destroyed by large student cities built in their midst.

Louise Lavine

Shutesbury

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