Vol. I No. 05 10/1/2020
Town News: September 30
Notes from the Select Board Meeting
The Massachusetts Shared Streets and Spaces Program was designed to "boost commerce by creating safe and functional environments for curbside or sidewalk retail, dining, and civic programming". The funds were available through September, but recently it was announced that additional funding was available. These funds can also be used for repurposed parking areas – on- and off-street – for walking, recreation, outdoor seating, retail and/or dining. Some restaurants are encouraging the town to apply for a grant for outdoor propane heaters.
At the September 24, 2020 Zoom meeting, on the Select Board agenda was a request to remove and replace a garage at 9 Main Street. The garage would have a roof deck and porch. Abutters expressed concerns about privacy and loss of trees. The matter was continued.
Notes from the Planning Board
The Planning Board met September 22, 2020 via Zoom. They voted to pay $3200 for a presentation by Randall Arendt. According to "Moving Forward", a document presented by the Planning Board, Arendt is a landscape planner, site designer, author and advocate of conservation planning and creative development. Arendt's planning and zoning design is in line with the Open Space Residential Development protocol. You can read the Planning Board's "Moving Forward" at:
In addition to the expenditure of $3,200, Stockbridge spent $25,000 for a planning document called a Diagnostic Report. Prepared by Joel Russell, the full Russell Diagnostic Report is available at: https://townofstockbridge.com/
Russell is a nationally known land use attorney and planning consultant who has consulted with municipalities across the country. Russell was asked to review the Stockbridge Zoning Bylaws with attention to the Cottage Era Bylaw. He was asked to diagnose the current Stockbridge Bylaws and make recommendations.
At the February 11, 2020 meeting of the Planning Board, Russell expressed his opinion that the Open Space Residential Development is not appropriate for Stockbridge due to its unique character and small population. His comments were pre-Zoom but were recorded and are available at CTSB (Community Television for the Southern Berkshires, 243-8211).
Instead, Russell recommended Natural Resources Protection Zoning. Documents explaining this approach are available at:
Russell concluded that the two approaches - Open Space Residential Development and Natural Resources Protection Zoning— are different and therefore would impact Stockbridge differently.
Zoning Board of Appeals
After the site visits recommended at the last Zoning Board of Appeals meeting, both the Tom Sharpe and the Terry Wise applications were approved.