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Jason Sorens for Amherst Planning Board

To the editor:      

      Amherst is at a crossroads. We can continue down the path of taking away our neighbors’ property rights, freezing the tax base, and constantly battling developers in court. Alternatively, we can seize the opportunity created by our new master plan to plan in the best interests of the town, and to follow the laws and regulations we’ve created.
      Our zoning ordinance badly needs updating, but the current planning board majority is going in the wrong direction. First, they have failed to apply the law consistently, resulting in three losses in court over the past 18 months, costing taxpayers about $60,000 in fees. Second, they have endorsed measures to take our neighbors’ rights, drive development outward, and promote road and driveway building (articles 40, 41, and 52). This is the opposite of the direction we need to go.
      My commonsense, positive vision for our town would (1) grow the tax base, (2) promote open space conservation, and (3) reduce negative growth impacts to neighbors.
      Seeing this, a broad range of current and former town leaders and zoning experts have endorsed my candidacy. See for yourself at and remember to vote March 14.

Jason Sorens

Jason Sorens for Amherst Planning Board

To the editor:      

      Over the last 18 months, Amherst has lost one appeal to the Housing Appeals Board, and TWO Supreme Court cases (costing us about $60,000 in legal fees) due to erroneous Planning Board (PB) decisions.  Clearly, something is not right.  Although their primary duty is to apply the law as written, some recent actions have appeared biased towards restricting development and against enforcing landowners’ rights.   Following the law cannot be optional.

      Amherst is fortunate to have as a resident Jason Sorens, one of the most respected land use, land management authorities in the state.  He is running for the Planning Board, and we are pleased to support him.  He knows the laws and promises to follow them!  And he has innovative ideas for growing the tax base, largely by encouraging the PB to work with the Community Development Office to create comprehensive and sensible plans to manage growth of both residential and commercial/industrial spaces. 

      We urge you to vote for Jason Sorens for the Amherst Planning Board (


John & Daryl D’Angelo


Toxic Fumes or Pina Colatas?

To the editor:           

      Amherst has on its ballot three articles 49, 50 and 51, which has been collectively referred to as ‘that warehouse issue’. The truth is this is not about warehouses, it’s about You and your family’s health, safety and general welfare. It gives you a voice in what you want Amherst to be in the future, a future driven by the citizens or special interests. Article 51 only limits the size of distribution centers and does not preclude the owner from developing the land. 

      Several towns have significantly lower size limitations in their Ordinances. Some have gone as far as to ban construction totally. These three articles were carefully crafted to address all parties’ interests and to create a reasonable solution: Protect the landowner by allowing reasonable development; Consider the tax lobby by not precluding development; and provide a level of protection for the citizens of Amherst. A fair and equitable solution is usually one in which each interested party is not fully satisfied with the outcome!

      The size of distribution centers will have multiple impacts on our Town. The most visible will be a significant increase in traffic on 101A, directly impacting your health, safety and well-being. Route 101A is already a congested, dangerous highway. Adding thousands of vehicles and trucks will have us inhaling toxic fumes as we wait for traffic to move. The more insidious impacts are less visible and longer lasting. Studies report that particulates in diesel exhaust can cause multiple medical conditions ranging from miscarriage, lack of brain development in infants, heart disease, lung disease, COPD and premature death of senior citizens. We must also protect one of the most significant resources we have in this Town, our volunteer Fire Department. Fighting fires in these potentially massive buildings is highly dangerous and can take days to extinguish.

      The landowners are opposed to these articles in the name of maximizing their own profit. This is about being good and responsible neighbors. The choice is yours. If these articles do not pass, you could be sitting on 101A breathing in toxic fumes while the developers are sitting on some sunny beach sipping Pina Coladas.

      Please vote yes on Articles 49, 50 and 51 to help protect your family and all citizens in Amherst.


Paul Philp


Articles 41 and 52: Vote No to Save Your Property Purchase

To the editor:      

      39 years ago, my husband and I moved to this lovely town. We became impressed by the quality of the people and institutions. We purchased a home and land through much hard work and persistence. Seemingly in an instant, our dream may disappear due to Article #41 and Petition Warrant Article #52. These articles seek to require an increase of road frontage to 300 ft on scenic roads and many setback increases. Our home is situated on a street which is designated as scenic--although we find all roads in Amherst very beautiful.

      10 years ago, we counted lucky stars that we were able to purchase 2.3 acres of land adjacent to our home. We have been caring for the land and dreaming that we would retire and build a senior-friendly home—single floor living to be kinder to arthritic knees and lower tax footprint to enable retirement!

      The Town's current scenic road lot size of 2+acres and 200 ft road frontage already provide substantial natural space and rural experience! Our road frontage of 260 ft would no longer be acceptable to build a home. Passage of these articles would essentially eliminate our retirement dream and render our entire property purchase as worthless as well as that of many other residents. Life on a scenic road already comes with many restrictions other homeowners may not be aware. Will we next take away the dreams and land usage of citizens residing on other types of roads?

      Our Planning Board is divided. More consideration is needed to discover how such decisions we make today will affect our friends and neighbors tomorrow, and our children to whom we had hoped to provide some small bit of security. I would never deny a citizen’s dream and hopefully you feel the same. Democracy means that we work together to find happy co-existence. Our citizens and Town already do due diligence to curb inappropriate building. We must continue to seek reasonable progress. We implore you to Vote No on #41 and #52. The next homeowners affected could be you and the disappearance of your financial future.


Deborah Rock


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