Planning Projects

Amherst Branding & Way Finding Program
Join us for a public meeting on October 6th



In Spring 2015, the Town of Amherst, in collaboration with the Amherst Business Improvement District (B.I.D), and with the support and participation of the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce, applied for and received a grant of $10,000 in technical assistance funding from the Downtown Initiative Program of the Department of Communities and Housing Development.  The technical assistance grant was to assist the community in developing designs for an Amherst Downtown Way Finding & Branding Program—a design program including community branding imagery, and way finding signs and other elements for downtown Amherst.  Technical assistance under the grant is being provided by designer Mark Favermann of Favermann Designs, a consultant working for the Downtown Initiative Program.


On June 18, an informal advisory group representing downtown organizations, institutions, and Town staff met with the consultant to help develop a process for developing preliminary designs for review by Town boards and committees and the public.  On August 18, the advisory group met a second time to review and refine preliminary community “brand” images for the public process.


The first phase of the project will include development of up to three potential community “brand” elements—titles, logos, and imagery that will visually identify Amherst for visitors and others on signs and other way finding elements.  Review of these “brands” and families of associated signs will occur in early October at a public meeting with downtown and community stakeholders invited by the advisory group.  Following that meeting, designs would be reviewed by Town boards and committees and then further refined by the advisory group at a public meeting.


Once one or more designs have been selected and ways in which the community brand(s) might be used have been identified, a preliminary design for a complete system of way finding signs and other elements will be developed for downtown Amherst.  Presentation of preliminary designs for this system will occur at a second public meeting in October or November.   Following that meeting, designs for the system would again be refined by the advisory group in public session, reviewed by Town boards and committees, and a final draft of the system’s designs prepared.


A presentation of the final draft designs will be presented to a joint meeting of the Planning Board and Select Board in November for review, refinement, and approval.   A proposal for funding for fabrication and installation of the new downtown sign system will thereafter be developed, and funding sought.


The resulting general designs for community branding and way finding signs and elements will provide a template for signs and way finding elements in other parts of the community in the future.

Amherst Downtown Branding & Way Finding Program

 image for wayfinding announcement

Branding = Selecting one or more names, terms, designs, symbols or other features that visually identify a community or place.


Way Finding = The ways in which people orient themselves in physical space and navigate from place to place. 

Preliminary Branding Design Concepts (August 18, 2015) PDF

Draft Downtown Sign Designs (October 2, 2015): 
Option A (Link)
Option B (Link)
Option C (Link)

North Common Concept Plans (January 24, 2013)
Presentation - April 1, 2014(PDF 5MB)
Notes from the Public Forum (PDF 20KB)
Concept AA (PDF 12,379KB)
Concept BB (PDF 12,863 KB)


Atkins Corner Workbook (2002)

This report was the result of a long-term participatory planning process in the Atkins Corner neighborhood in South Amherst. Working with the major property owners - Hampshire College and Atkins Farms Country Market - as well as with other local property owners and residents of the area, this plan was developed to guide future growth in this part of Town.

The Plan includes guidelines for a sustainable compact village center plan for Atkins Corner. These model guidelines can also be used for other village centers in Amherst, as well as other center and towns.

This project was funded by a grant from the Livable Communities program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The Workbook and Action Steps were developed by Dodson Associates & Joel Russell, land use attorney. 

Action Steps for a Better Amherst (PDF - 230KB) 

Atkins Corner Workbook (PDF - 24MB - Very large file) 

Page 14 - Stream and Wetland Buffers (11 x 17 map) (PDF - 8MB - Very large file) 
Page 15 - Soils and Stream Buffers (11 x 17 map) (PDF - 8MB - Very large file) 
Page 16 - Topography (11 x 17 map) (PDF - 4MB - Very large file)


Build-Out Analysis and Future Growth Study (October 2002)

At its most fundamental, a build-out analysis sets out to determine how much land in a town is available for development, what type of development is permitted on that land, and how much development could ultimately result.
The Town hired the consulting firms of Applied Geographics and Phil Herr & Associates to conduct this study, which was completed in October 2002. The consultants were assisted by the Planning Department through the use of the Town’s highly accurate Geographic Information Systems (GIS) that provided the detailed digital base-map information for the build-out analysis. 

Comprehensive Planning Committee - Report to Town Meeting, Fall 2002 (PDF - 151KB) 

Build-Out Analysis and Future Growth Study (PDF - 1.4MB - Large file)


Comprehensive Planning Study: Defining Village Boundaries & Open Space Preservation Strategies (PDF - 15MB - Very large file) (May 2004)

The Town of Amherst has recently completed several projects as part of the process to update the Town's Comprehensive Plan, including the Build-out Analysis and Future Growth Study, Action Steps for a Better Amherst, and Atkins Corner Workbook. There are still many steps that need to be taken to complete the different sections of the Comprehensive Plan, several which will be undertaken by different committees in Town (i.e., Open Space Committee and Historical Commission) and others that await major funding by the town. In order to assist the Town's Comprehensive Planning Committee and Planning Department in these planning efforts, the Planning Department contracted with the University of Massachusetts' Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning to work on three key focus points of the Plan. These are:

Open Space and Viewshed Protection,
Defining Village Boundaries,
And Designing Village Centers.

This May 2004 report details the results of that work.

The Town of Amherst also worked with professional consultants to develop the Town of Amherst Community Development Plan (PDF - 3.88MB) which was completed in May 2004.


Pomeroy Village Streetscape Planning (2006-2007)

The Amherst Design Review Board, Planning Department, and Public Works Department are making plans for future sidewalk and streetscape improvements for the center of "Pomeroy Village," the area around the intersection of West Street (Rte. 116) and Pomeroy/West Pomeroy Lane. The process started with a survey distributed to the people who use the village center, including residents, property owners, business owners, customers, employees, and visitors.

The Pomeroy Village Public Survey (PDF - 232KB)

Results of the Pomeroy Village Public Survey (PDF - 633KB)

Announcement poster for Pomeroy Village public meeting on July 26, 2006 (PDF - 695KB)


Town Center Streetscape Design Guidelines Manual (December 2002)

These Design Guidelines were prepared as part of the Town Center Sidewalk Design and Accessibility Project, administered by the Amherst Planning Department.

These guidelines provide design direction for streetscape improvements throughout the downtown. These improvements include new sidewalks, crosswalks, benches, street lights, way-finding signs, and trash receptacles. The improvements will also provide for increased safety and mobility for the disabled.

The overall goal of the Guidelines is to create a more pedestrian friendly downtown, one with increased safety, comfort, and amenities for Amherst citizens and visitors alike.

The Guidelines may also be applied to the village centers in Amherst at a later date.

The Guidelines were developed by Berkshire Design Group, Inc., working with numerous Amherst boards, committees, and citizens. 

Amherst Town Center Streetscape Design Guidelines Manual (PDF - 10.5MG - Very large file)