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Amherst MA: A New Village Plan for Atkins Corner - page 10 / 13





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The Final Meeting and Plan. A last public meeting was held in December 2002, at which the entire team of consultants, led by Dodson Associates, submitted the final plan to the public. Some discussion took place, and, as Cutting and LaCour fondly recall, one of the most firm holdouts against development at the corner stood up to announce, “Initially I was against this, but these guys really listened to what we had to say, and I think they’ve come up with a really nice plan. I’d really like to support this, and I’d like to see how many other people support this.” An overwhelming majority raised their hands. “He did something spontaneously that we were dying to do—he took a straw poll, and it was great,” says LaCour.

Dodson Associates prepared a formal report that was available on the Town web site and at the Town Hall for citizen review and input. The final plan created a “compact, pedestrian-friendly development core constructed on traditional building principles.” The design team realigned Route116 to the east to create a single offset-T intersection with Bay Road, and put a narrow road connecting Route 116 and Bay Road just to the west of the main intersection, to calm traffic and ease access to the market’s parking area. The resulting triangular green at the intersection would give the neighborhood a traditional New England look and a welcoming entrance.

To the west of the intersection, the designers planned a new road from Route 116 to Bay Road, the main street for the new village. One- to three-story buildings would line the street, with parking areas behind the buildings. Interpreting the visual preference survey, the designers indicated in their plan the preferred “look” of the street, with a recommended block length of 50 to 60 feet, heavy tree use, and desired building styles.

The parcel directly to the east of the newly aligned Route 116, including Epstein Pond and some sensitive wetlands, would be permanently protected. As motorists drive along Route 116 from the south, the village would be to their left and the open space surrounding Epstein Pond to their right; the designers felt that this would preserve a bit of the rural feel of the area. With the existing conserved land and visual easements in the area, a significant portion of land will remain permanent open space.


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