Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Longmeadow Residents Urged to Save the Mansion

This letter to the editor was submitted by Marie Angelides, a member of the Longmeadow Select Board for posting on the LongmeadowBuzz blog.

On Thursday, Jan. 25 there will be a Special Town Meeting in Longmeadow.  The residents will be making an important decision regarding the Town Green. The discussion is framed by the following issues: should we preserve the Town Green for primarily residential properties or should we preserve the historic Young mansion by converting part of the property for commercial usage. Only the residents of Longmeadow can only make this decision. The boards and committees and employees have done their work in bringing the issue to the legislative body, the Town Meeting. Only the citizens of Longmeadow have the power to make this change.

The residents of Longmeadow must decide what best represents the character of the town: the preservation of the Young mansion or its destruction. One thing is clear, the cost of maintenance and renovation has proven too much for a single homeowner. This has led to the severe deterioration of the structure resulting in a blight in the middle of Longmeadow.

Longmeadow has a rich history. When we lose part of our history we lose an important part of our identity. As a town, we have shown a dedication to investing in maintaining our historic documents, architecture and landscapes. The Young mansion is an important part of our historic architecture. I urge you to take a tour of the Young mansion to see what we will lose.

With the acceptance of this project comes a responsibility to preserve the historic residential character of the Green and the safety of our pedestrians and bikers. Our boards, committees, and staff will work diligently to plan for traffic safety as required, as Longmeadow is a "Complete Streets" community. As a community, we should also review the long-range plan for the Green with the Historic District Commission, Historic Commission, Parks and Recreation Commission and Longmeadow Historic Society to establish policies that recommit ourselves to the preservation and care of our Green and historic district.

Voting "YES" on Thursday, Jan. 25 will be the first step in preserving the Green and the architectural history of our town.

Please come out on Thursday, January 25 at 7 PM at Longmeadow High School and help with this crucial decision.

Marie Angelides, Longmeadow

Monday, January 8, 2018

Eight Reasons “Save-Our-Green” is opposed to The Re-Zoning of the Brewer-Young Home

This blog post was submitted to the LongmeadowBuzz blog by Jeffrey Wint, a resident of Longmeadow, MA at 930 Longmeadow Street.
  1. Rezoning sets a Terrible Precedent.  This is the first step in the Town Manager’s plan to implement a commercial Overlay Zone on up to 37 homes on Route 5 from the Springfield line to the Connecticut border.  (The Town Manager has gone so far as to ask Town Counsel if Route 5 can be commercialized “one house at a time” (information obtained through Freedom of Information Act Request)).  Rezoning the largest and most visible home first would make it very difficult to prevent others from following suit.
  2. Re-Zoning Is No Guaranty.  Re-zoning applies to LAND, not structures. If the property is re-zoned the investors are under no legal obligation to preserve the home.  While the value of the land would increase dramatically, the investors (or some future owner) can still demolish the home.
  3. We have enough Professional/Office Space.  Zone changes are meant to address a perceived need of the community. Longmeadow presently has well over 20,000 square feet of office space for rent.  Another 54,000 square feet of medical office space is being built along the East Longmeadow/ Longmeadow border.  We don’t need more office space anywhere in town… least of all in the middle of a residential zone on our lovely Town Green.
  4. Parking.   The investors’ plan shows 26 on-site parking spaces.  Office Use under the Town By-Laws requires a minimum of 36 on-site parking spaces. If the Town were to impose the same parking requirements they did for the development of the 54,000 square foot medical office facility being built along the Longmeadow/East Longmeadow border approximately 80 on-site parking spaces would be required. Inadequate on-site parking will result in the taxpayer subsidized use of the Town parking in front of the Community House and the Library to the detriment of residents seeking to use those facilities.
  5. There Are Other Options.  Rezoning from residential to commercial is certainly the most profitable option for the investors but not the only option.  The investors bought the home in an eight day bidding war for $470,200.00, almost $30,000.00 more than the asking price.  (Per Multiple Listing Service home listed July 15 for $444,200.00, and went under contract July 23 for $470,200.00.)  This bidding war confirms intense interest in the property once it was finally priced to reflect its condition.
  6. Public Safety.  Rezoning will dramatically increase traffic and require a substantial curb cut very near the already dangerous intersection of Williams and Longmeadow Streets.  A Professional Office will generate far more traffic than any residential use.   Couple this increased traffic with inadequate on-site parking (drivers looking for parking at the Community House and the Library) and you have created a very dangerous environment for the many Center School and Montessori students, bikers and pedestrians in the area.
  7. Spot Zoning.  Spot Zoning, defined as the process of singling out a small parcel of land for a use which is totally different from the surrounding area for the benefit of the property owner and to the detriment of surrounding owners, IS NOT LEGAL in Massachusetts.  We believe the investors are asking the residents to consider something which is simply against the law.
  8. We love our Green “AS IS”.  It is UNIQUE.  Our Town is primarily a residential community with a few small pockets of commercial space located in carefully selected areas.  This is not unintentional. Starting in the 1850’s our predecessors commenced the process of removing all the businesses from the Town Green as well as up and down Longmeadow Street so that by the 1890’s the only business remaining on the Green was the general store, which is now The Spa On The Green.  This represents the earliest example of community planning and landscape restoration in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Longmeadow’s Long Range Plan describes the Town Green as “a living museum”  to be maintained “as is”.  Bringing  commercial businesses back into the Historic District is directly contrary to this plan.
For more details, checkout our Save Our Green Facebook page.
to RE-zoning at the special meeting on January 25, 2018

Jeffrey Wint/ 930 Longmeadow Street