Have your say in the future of Amherst with the "ImagineAmherst" project

Posted at 11:55 AM, Sep 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-21 10:59:08-04

You can help have a say in the future of Amherst. The Planning Department of the Town of Amherst is beginning a week-long push on September 24th, as part of their plans to formulate recommendations to revise the Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Code for the Town.

Dubbed "ImagineAmherst," the program seems to combine expertise from local volunteer technical and working committee members with public input to help formulate a new vision for the community’s commercial centers.

The Planning Department will take your input directly as a series of workshops called "charette."

The workshops will inform the community vision for six select areas by discovering what's most important to the community. The workshops will also educate the community about possible options for new zoning that could be applies in these areas.

“A project of this scope and magnitude comes around only once in a lifetime and we all owe it to ourselves and future generations to give it the attention and energy it deserves,” said Amherst planning director, Eric Gillert.   “Re-writing the Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Code may sound threatening to some people, because it seems like we are going to change things.  Some people often resist change.  The truth is, change is always coming.  With this project, we are being proactive.  We are managing the change and setting Amherst on a path and direction that the residents want it to be on – as opposed to being at the mercy of what was left to us from past generations. ImagineAmherst puts the control back in residents’ hands.”

The Charrette schedule in its entirety is as follows.  Note, that if one can only attend a single event, the first (Saturday 9/24 at 9am) would be the most foundational; followed in priority by Wednesday 9/28 (7pm).

Saturday, September 24, 9 am - 12:30
Hyatt Place 5020 Main Street
A presentation about Amherst’s commercial centers, the public input process and the development of the comprehensive plan and zoning code. After the presentation, attendees will break into small groups and draw their vision for the future of these pilot sites, highlighting problems and identifying opportunities. Ideas from each group will then be reported back to participants. No experience in planning is necessary

Saturday, September 24 - Wednesday, September 28
(9/24 1-7pm; 9/25 9am-7pm; 9/26 9am- 3pm; 9/27 9am – 7 pm; 9/28 9am – 2 pm)
Harlem Road Community Center  4255 Harlem Road
The design studio will be open to the public for most of the charrette.  This is to encourage the public to stop in and see what the team is working on, share their ideas and check out the process. This gives an opportunity to provide input as plans are evolving.  ImagineAmherst is meant to be a collaborative effort.

Monday, September 26 and Tuesday, September 27, 12 - 1 pm