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Meanwhile, the Town hired land-use attorney Joel Russell to develop zoning for the plan at Atkins Corner. In a report, “Action Steps for a Better Amherst,” Russell suggests a new zoning district for the corner, pointing out that zoning is now in use that covers nearly all the desired features of the development plan – namely, the zoning in place for the town center of Amherst. According to La Cour, Russell’s proposed zoning changes have gotten mixed in with the Town’s comprehensive plan, which is still being worked on by the Town’s planning commission. La Cour expects the Town to work on getting the necessary zoning changes in place “over the next couple of years.” But the real issue as La Cour sees it is, “What are Hampshire and Atkins really going to do?” Zoning and planning does what it can within reason; but since sustainable development comes down to what landowners and developers are willing to build, the ball is truly in their court.
Larry Archey, Hampshire College’s director of campus planning and support services, is convinced that the Atkins Corner plan will become a reality, and will look much lke the Dodson Associates’ plan. In his opinion, the progressive nature of the town, the environmental orientation of Hampshire College, and the strong foundation of support developed over the previous eight years will bring the Atkins Corner plan to fruition.