Around Amherst: Lottery for affordable housing to be held

Staff Writer
Thursday, July 13, 2017

AMHERST — Families seeking affordable housing in Amherst can apply to live in apartments with rents below fair market.

The Aug. 11 lottery, for six units available at Presidential Apartments on North Pleasant Street, is an opportunity that doesn’t happen often, said Pam Parmakian, director of housing programs for the Amherst Housing Authority.

The most recent lottery, she said, was prior to the opening of Olympia Oaks on East Pleasant Street in 2014.

The units are “low rent,” with a maximum income limit at 80 percent of the area median income. These guidelines mean for one person the income can’t exceed $44,800, for two person $51,200, for three person $57,600 and for four person $64,000.

Parmakian explained that rents will be significantly lower than regular apartments. For one bedroom, the rent would be $824 per month for heat and hot water, about $250 less per month than market rate apartments. For two bedroom rent would be $1,016 for heat and hot water, approximately $500 less per month, and for the three bedroom units, with just hot water, $1,142, or about $800 less per month.

Presidential opened 54 new units for 96 tenants, spread among nine buildings, in fall 2015.

Applications must be complete and postmarked by Aug. 4 to participate in the lottery. Families selected must be ready to move in to their new homes Sept. 1.

Police officers honored

Three police officers were recognized with letters of commendations at this week’s Select Board meeting, including one who had a knife thrown at him while trying to calm a suicidal college student.

Police Chief Scott Livingstone presented the certificates to officers Dominick Corsetti, Justin Satkowski and Scott Gallagher.

On April 24, Corsetti went to an Amity Street home to deal with a University of Massachusetts student wielding a knife and intending to cut his own throat in the presence of his mother and a friend.

Livingstone explained that Corsetti distracted the man and, even though he drew his service weapon, didn’t have to fire it, despite the aggressive and threatening behavior that culminated with the man throwing his knife at the officer.

“You utilized all of your non-lethal force options in an attempt to save this young man’s life,” Livingstone said.

Satkowski and Gallagher subdued a man at Starbucks who threatened a clerk and other patrons. That was another case in which lethal force could have been used, but was resolved without use of a weapon.

Town Manager Paul Bockelman said the recognitions demonstrate the importance of the rigorous training and professional development for officers in the department.

Gas station to reopen

A long-running gas and service station on Belchertown Road could soon be back in business.

Sandri Realty Inc. of Greenfield will come before the Planning Board July 19 at 7 p.m. for site plan review for the 40 Belchertown Road site.

The business has been closed for more than a year, which prompts the need for the review.

The gas station was run for more than a quarter century by an entity known as Barney’s Enterprises, Inc.

Flood maps available.

With Amherst in the process of updating its flood insurance rate maps and undertaking a flood insurance study, the preliminary maps can be reviewed by the public.

The study, being handled by AECOM consultants of Boston working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, will provide information to landowners, the Amherst Conservation Commission, the Planning Board and others about flood-prone land.

Amherst’s federal flood maps were last updated in 1983, but better technology for mapping is now available.

Floodable areas being mapped include sites along rivers and streams, including Cushman Brook, Hawley Brook, Baby Carriage Brook, Mill River, Muddy Brook, Fort River, Eastman Brook, Hop Brook, Plum Brook, Amethyst Brook and Adams Brook.

The maps can be viewed at Town Hall or online at https://www.amherstma.gov/1069/FEMA-Flood- Maps.

Comments, which can be sent to Planning Director Christine Brestrup at brestrupc@amherstma.gov or Senior Planner Nate Malloy, at malloyn@amherstma.gov, are due by July 26,


MONDAY: Local Historic District Commission, 3:30 p.m., and Select Board, 6:30 p.m., both at Town Room, Town Hall.

TUESDAY: Design Subcommittee of Dog Park Task Force, 7 p.m., Town Room, Town Hall.

WEDNESDAY: Planning Board, 7 p.m., Town Room, Town Hall.

THURSDAY: Jones Library Investment Committee, 10 a.m., and Jones Library Development Committee, 3 p.m., both at Goodwin Room, Jones Library; Public Art Commission, noon, First Floor Meeting Room, Town Hall; Amherst Cultural Council, 4 p.m., Amherst Room, Jones Library.

FRIDAY: Jones Library trustees, 9:05 a.m., and Jones Library Budget Committee, 10:30 a.m., both at Goodwin Room, Jones Library.