The 2005 Amherst Preservation Plan (PDF-10MB, very large file and may be a slow download) is the culmination of several years of work by the Historical Commission to conduct a community planning effort to identify, assess, and plan for preservation of Amherst’s important historical and cultural resources. The Plan serves as a 10 year action plan for historic preservation in Amherst, and is designed to serve as the historic preservation component of a comprehensive plan.
In October 2002, at the request of the Historical Commission, Amherst Town Meeting authorized $20,000 in Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds for an ”historic preservation survey.” The Commission thereafter developed a request for consultant services to develop a preservation plan for Amherst, to include consideration of Amherst’s historic landscapes. In Spring 2003, the Historical Commission solicited and reviewed numerous consultant proposals. In June 2003, the Commission hired the cooperating consulting firms of Martha Lyon Landscape Architecture LLC, and William Geizentanner Associates, Inc. to work with the Commission to develop the Amherst Preservation Plan.
Over the summer and early fall of 2003, the consultants collected and assessed the Town’s inventory of information on historic resources, as well as the Town’s historic preservation tools (development rules and regulations). In January 2004, the consultants presented the Commission with a summary of their findings and preliminary recommendations regarding the Town’s historic inventory.
Public Participation The public participation phase solicited community input concerning local historic preservation efforts and preservation priorities. Public comment was sought in three ways:
Surveys - An historic preservation survey was mailed to all 240 Town Meeting members as well as the members of appropriate Town boards and committees. Over 70 responses were received.
Interviews - Direct interviews were conducted with selected community members involved with historic preservation in Amherst, as well as with numerous board and committee members.
Public Forums - An initial community forum was held on February 23, 2004 to solicit public input on existing historic preservation activity, threatened resources, and recommendations for the future. A second forum was held on June 28, 2004 to solicit public comment on draft recommendations.
Plan Development Based on the results of the public participation phase, the Commission worked with the consultants to refine a draft Amherst Preservation Plan, which was presented to several Town boards and committees for comment. The draft Amherst Preservation Plan was then reviewed and refined several times by the Historical Commission during the fall and winter of 2004, and was finally completed and approved on May 10, 2005.
Copies of the Plan can be viewed at the Amherst Planning Department and the Jones Library. For further information, contact Commission staff in the Amherst Planning Dept., Town Hall at 259-3040 or email the planning department.