Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Little orphan article

My thoughts on this article should have been included with my last pre-TM article analysis, but apparently I didn’t quite get to it. And so. . .

Article 23: Seeks to slightly loosen the restrictions on the PRP (Professional Research Park) zoning, fixing previous wording in the bylaw that essentially prevented any kind of business with clients who might need to come to its office. The new wording would allow the ZBA to “grant a Special Permit for a technical or professional office that provides services predominantly by appointment to clients in person on the premises, or, for an administrative business office or similar office that does not provide services to the general public in person on the premises.” This is a step toward encouraging the kind of clean, low-impact business that Amherst claims to want to more of to help broaden the tax base. The only downside I have heard is from people who live near PRPs and are concerned about increased traffic. But the whole PRP designation is about very low-traffic business anyway – we aren’t talking about shopping malls, we’re talking about architectural firms, business consultants, etc. That a small traffic increase may negatively impact a few neighbors so that the whole town can receive the economic benefits seems like a reasonable trade-off to me, and I hope the opposing neighbors will try to consider the situation from that bigger-picture perspective. We will never make progress if we refuse everything that changes the status quo. I think this is a vital fix to the bylaw and I intend to support it.

Comment on the remaining budget part of the warrant will have to wait for more information and study.