A committee composed of Peggy Roberts, Janice Ratner, Joan Temkin, Adrienne Terrizzi, Diana Stein, Barbara Ford, and Martha Hanner reviewed the warrant articles for the spring Amherst Town Meeting to decide which articles are appropriate for the League to support. Their recommendations of the committee have been approved by the LWVA Board.
LWVA will support three of the Articles.
- #22 would amend the zoning bylaw to provide incentives for building affordable housing units in Amherst and to ensure that new residential developments of ten or more units include affordable housing.
- #30 would put Town Meeting on record as opposing the construction of the proposed Kinder Morgan/Tennessee Gas Company pipeline across western Massachusetts and other similar fracked natural gas pipelines and as opposing any tariff on Massachusetts ratepayers to fund construction of the pipeline.
- #29 would declare the second Sunday in June to be Race Amity Day.
With respect to #22, the review committee noted that revised zoning incentives have been discussed for years in Amherst and that it is urgent to move forward. While no zoning article is ever perfect, Article 22 is based on outside studies and public input. Our local League position is quite detailed and explicitly supports increased density and height regulations as means of encouraging development.
The group proposing Article 30 has done considerable research. The committee decided it would be most effective for LWVA to focus on the environmental impact of this pipeline, together with the evidence that it is a for-profit venture with only minor support for Massachusetts. The LWVA Energy Committee is proposing a study of fracking for next year, which should result in a more detailed position that we can use in the future to address the more general issues of fracking and fossil fuels.
Finally, the committee noted at #29 is part of a broader effort to create a Race Amity Day in local communities around the state. Governor Patrick initiated Race Amity Day last year.
As always, the committee found that while additional Articles would be compatible with our positions, those positions did not address the specific focus of the Article. And as a matter of strategy, LWVA feels it is most effective to focus on a few priority issues, rather than dilute our influence by supporting all articles that might fit within the parameters of our positions.