From The Valley Advocate
By Mark Roessler
Thursday, October 30, 2008
The committee charged with overseeing the Hospital Hill development shows signs of life.
Last Wednesday, October 22, the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) met for the third time this year to discuss plans for the northernmost part of the development where the historic Northampton State Hospital once stood. Before them was a proposal for an additional hundred housing units, which, to be built, required their approval.
After years of passively accepting much of what the developers presented, regardless of how far the revised plans deviated from stated goals, this time the CAC didn’t let the double-speak go down so smoothly.
MassDevelopment, the state agency managing the development, had been busy this summer overseeing construction of the 207 units already approved for the site. In order to make the development eligible for state funding incentives that promote green building practices, last year the agency had proposed that instead of construction taking over the entire hilltop, as originally planned, they would build the approved homes closer together. At the time, there had been some concern that the actual agenda behind the compact construction was to make space available for more units later, but the city and the CAC had been assured this was not the case.