Paul Cohen: Let’s take charge of Amherst again

Published: 4/7/2021 3:26:47 PM

Gosh, Steve Bloom did a terrific job summarizing the picture I have of downtown Amherst in his Gazette guest column on March 11 (“Build, baby, build”)

His description of the sidewalk along the side of our new dorms on East Pleasant Street is the picture I get of our town every time I walk or drive by. What’s wrong with this picture? Well, just who let this slide by our “experts” on planning and zoning. The setback requirements for buildings downtown are very clear and equally clear is the fact that none of those requirements were met.

Hey, who needs sidewalks anyway? Just who approved those building plans? We really should demand to know exactly who in our town government approved of those plans because the buildings do not meet the code.

As for parking, well everyone knows that on our snowy, icy days, all of those tenants will use their bikes to get around. They will just walk right down the hill to Stop & Shop and carry their groceries back. We don’t need no damn parking. That’s a need far into our past lives.

How did all of this nonsense happen? We let it happen. We didn’t have to let it happen, but money poured into the vote on government change and we got the change. In spades. Our town meeting would never have allowed this to happen to our town, which is exactly why the change was forced through.

When I moved here, we had a hardware store, a shoe store, two drug stores. two gas stations, a car dealership, and a large supermarket. We had small businesses beloved by many residents. All that is now gone, but these new buildings expanded our tax base. Did your taxes go down? Mine when up — a lot. If we ever get the chance, let’s take charge of our town again.

Paul Cohen


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Northampton, MA 01061


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