From The Valley Advocate
By Mark Roessler
Thursday, June 12, 2008
With apologies to John Lennon, development in Northampton is what happens after city officials have announced other plans.
On Thursday, May 22, 2008, the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) met in City Council chambers to discuss "amending" previous zoning to the development on Hospital Hill. Would they allow Kollmorgen, a maker of high-tech optics used in submarine periscopes, missile guidance systems and other applications, to relocate to the Hill from its King Street facility across town?
The particular location where Northampton’s largest for-profit business hopes to break ground is on a hilltop abutting Route 66, with commanding views of the Mt. Tom and Holyoke Mountain ranges. It’s the most prominent site in that part of town and arguably the heart of the long-planned development to replace the Northampton State Hospital.
At one point early in the meeting, city councilor and CAC member David Narkewicz suggested the vote be delayed a week to give a chance for consideration. But—scrapping 20 years of promises, planning, and lectures on smart growth and best practices—Mayor and CAC chair Clare Higgins allowed the vote to proceed, and the committee voted unanimously to permit the relocation.
Along with the new industrial facility, enough blacktop will be laid for a 450-car parking lot for 600 employees.