Amherst’s first Council worked long and hard to establish coherent procedures, policies, and processes. From the perspective of a town resident trying to engage with the Council, I encountered obstacles, which I want to remove so more people can participate. I want to pitch in to improve access for everyone. I want you to be heard when you try to contribute!
The 2010 Masterplan recommends adding density to the downtown and village centers while protecting and enhancing the historic character of the town and our strong neighborhoods. We can do both! Development can be a win-win, not always putting the Town on the losing end. A building that contributes to the character and vitality of downtown – with active street fronts, historic shop facades, and attractive public spaces – pays the same taxes as a building that does none of these things. In the long run, positive development will continue to draw people to Amherst ~ Remember being a #1 College Town?
Zoning plays a huge role in any win-win scenario. We want a strong vision in place, supported by good design guidelines before any zoning changes are made. Careful planning says any proposed zoning changes need careful analysis and scrutiny, so they support rather than undermine the vision. Sadly, this Council is pushing forward a significant number of zoning changes in a vacuum – no vision and no careful planning. These changes affect the look and feel of our Town Centers and all residential neighborhoods – especially those in District 4! I want to focus my planning background and my 6 years on the Planning Board toward positive solutions!
As your District 4 Councilor, I will apply my background in natural resource planning to improve the environmental health and green infrastructure of Amherst, starting with Energy and Climate Change recommendations.
I want to widen our lens and enhance efforts made to date on safety, equity, and inclusion. Let’s build on the Safety Committee recommendations. It’s always the people who make a community! I want to make sure you have a Council that listens.