Amherst needs greenspace to cope with Mother Nature
The Westwood development project remains a debacle. The critical issues of mitigating for traffic, sewage disposal and stormwater runoff have not been resolved. Amherst officials should have made it clear from the beginning that owning land does not entitle anyone to a rezone. Especially a rezone that would result in destabilizing the community.
Analysts have said, “Amherst is built out.” To achieve balance in the town, we need to preserve what is left of greenspace and redevelop the many vacant and obsolete areas with existing infrastructure.
Greenspace and wetlands are Mother Nature’s sponge. They are a way of handling flood control during storm events, snowmelt and rainfall. Efforts are always made to trick Mother Nature to allow development where it should not be. No one tricks Mother Nature. She always returns to remind people who really is in charge. Unfortunately, homeowners suffer the consequences, after the perpetrators are gone. This scenario has been played out too many times in Amherst. It needs to stop!
The people of Texas and Florida recently found themselves at the mercy of Mother Nature. The places that fared best with recovery and receding water were the places where officials insisted that wetlands and greenspaces be preserved. Paving over natural sponges, diverting water and tampering with wetlands, including the Everglades, made a bad situation worse.
Westwood is central Amherst’s treasure and place of tranquility for people and wildlife to live in harmony. There is no justification to destroy 170 acres of greenspace other than to make rich men richer, at any cost and without conscience.