Martha Umphrey: SRO editorial wrongly dismisses neighbors concerns

Published: 6/26/2019 9:00:19 PM
SRO editorial dismisses concerns of neighbors

I write in response to the Gazette’s editorial advocating the advance of the proposed SRO project in Amherst (“Advance SRO project in Amherst,” June 14).

In embracing the proposal wholeheartedly, the editorial dismisses concerns neighbors have about its size and conception as typical NIMBYism, and notes that Valley CDC has operated similar projects in other communities “without any incident of violence to neighbors.”

That standard for assessing the community impact of a significant SRO facility sets a pretty low bar, and I am left wondering: What precisely are the general effects of such projects in residential areas? As we all consider how best to increase affordable housing in Amherst, which is a significant and important problem, I think it would be a real service to those considering this issue in good faith to know more about whether the concerns raised in the letter sent to Amherst Town Council have or have not been borne out in other nearby communities, particularly those noted in the editorial.

Trustworthy information, difficult to come by these days, can help to overcome the tendency to caricature differing opinions. At the least, I hope the Gazette’s perspective on town politics in Amherst will remain committed to its usual clear-eyed and informative reportage as our new governance structure takes on difficult questions of this sort.

Martha Umphrey


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