Amherst councilors withdraw zone changes to address ‘missing middle’ housing

Staff Writer
Published: 7/27/2023 2:06:40 PM

AMHERST — Two councilors seeking a package of zoning changes aimed at making it easier for duplexes, triplexes and converted dwellings to be developed in Amherst, addressing what proponents referred to as housing options for the “missing middle” between single-family homes and apartments, this week requested the plans be withdrawn.

District 2 Councilor Pat De Angelis and At-Large Councilor Mandi Jo Hanneke, who crafted and sponsored the comprehensive proposal that was subject to Planning Board and Planning Department review for the past several months, are formally requesting the withdrawal in a letter to their colleagues sent Tuesday.

The withdrawal comes after the Planning Board in June voted not to recommend the zoning amendments, even though members appreciated many of the concepts embedded in the proposal.

“We make this request to withdraw our proposed revisions to the zoning bylaw relating to missing middle housing for a variety of reasons,” the councilors wrote. “Among these reasons is our town attorney’s hesitancy to support splitting the proposal into discrete parts for the purposes of voting at the council. As sponsors, we always believed our proposal was a sum of many parts, dividable into sections for the purposes of voting.”

Even without support from planners, the Town Council could have voted on the proposal, adopting or rejecting it.

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