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Attorney: special permit for Amherst Motel site would be illegal

  • Northampton attorney Michael Pill is seeking to prevent the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals from issuing a special permit for the redevelopment of the Amherst Motel property that straddles the Amherst and Hadley town line. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO



Staff Writer
Thursday, November 16, 2017

AMHERST — A Northampton attorney sought to prevent the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals from issuing a special permit for the redevelopment of the Amherst Motel property that straddles the Amherst and Hadley town line.

In an email sent to the Planning Department Wed​​​​​​nesday, attorney Michael Pill of Green, Miles, Lipton LLP provides information contending that a special permit can’t legally be issued for Aspen Heights, an apartment building proposed at 408 Northampton Road.

A continuation of a hearing on the project, which would mark the seventh ZBA meeting on Aspen Heights, was held Thursday.

The project was originally proposed as a four-story, 131-unit apartment building, but has been reduced to a three-story, 115-unit apartment building.

Still, the project has raised concerns from neighbors at the Greenleaves Retirement Community and Windfield Estates. In his memo, Pill said he is representing owners of condominiums at Greenleaves.

Among the reasons he argues that the special permit can’t be issued include the prohibition on apartments in Hadley, where land will be used for a portion of the apartment’s 255 parking spaces; that Amherst Motel continues to be licensed as a motel, rather than getting rental permits under Amherst’s rental registration program; and that town zoning doesn’t allow a special permit for such a project that has a non-conforming use to be issued only “if damaged or destroyed by fire or other accidental cause.”

“My clients only ask for fair consideration of the issues raised by this memorandum,” Pill writes.