Vol. II No. 09 5/1/2021
Reader to Reader — We Got Mail
* * ^ * *
Thank you for covering all things Stockbridge. Neighbors and out-of-town friends have told me how much they value keeping up on town news and events. I particularly value getting town updates without pesky advertising pop-ups and would be willing to subscribe. The daffodil picture in the last issue is beautiful!
Regarding the Select Board discussion on lighting covered in the last issue, I thought I would add that the lights on Main Street are the standard Dept of Transportation cobra lights. Years ago, Mary Flynn had negotiated with the utility company that maintains them to have them painted "Mary Flynn green," as a certain color of dark green that Mary favored was known locally.
The one light by St Paul's Episcopal Church that is newer and not painted was not forgotten (Mary was quite attuned to details), it was knocked down in the past ten years by a vehicle. It was replaced quickly and Mary wasn't here of course to "encourage" National Grid to paint the pole, hence the shiny aluminum that unfortunately will never recede into the treeline until it is painted "Mary Flynn green."
Thank you for taking the time to write and for the additional information. I love Mary Flynn stories — 93 years of going forth and doing good. And Kate, thanks for all you do for Stockbridge.
* * ^ * *
Your work on Stockbridge Updates is so very appreciated — such a rich trove of history, ecology, and the hard work of all of our Town Committees.
Laurie (Laurie Norton Moffatt)
Praise indeed from so accomplished a woman.
* * ^ * *
I was disheartened when I listened to the April 20 planning board meeting and witnessed the co-chairs take gratuitous swipes at Updates. Chair Vogt said you refused to publish a letter by consultant Jeff Lacy. Of course, he did not mention that the letter was so long that it far exceeded the conspicuously published 400-word limit that holds for everyone. Vogt and co-chair Rasmussen spoke about "correcting misinformation in the Updates". Why don't they simply say what the misinformation is and correct it? If they did, I'm sure it would be immediately clear to all who really was misinformed and about what.
Speaking of refusing to publish things, none of the unfounded smears they uttered are published in the minutes of the April 20 meeting, even though the meeting was not adjourned for several minutes thereafter.
Keep up the good work and don't pay attention to people who have their own agenda.
Sincerely, Charlie Kenny
You are right, the piece was over 1000 words long. I made a number of suggestions for cutting, but Christine responded, "Dear Carol[e], No, the response cannot be cut".
You make a good suggestion, and it might have been helpful if Bill and Christine just made their clarification or correction in the meeting. Probably it is no longer relevant as it was written about version 2 (I think) of NRHPZ (Natural Resources and Historic Preservation Zoning), and the PB is now on version 5 of NRPZ (dropped historic preservation).
Thanks for the supportive words for SU and thanks for all you do for Stockbridge.
* * ^ * *
I know we share an interest in early Stockbridge documents. I attended a presentation given by Rob Hoogs at the Bidwell House regarding the history of maple sugaring in the Berkshire's. He described the Indians use of various resources and touched on the subject of the deed from the sachems to the colonists and what happened AFTER title passed to the colonists. I asked if the Bidwell House had a copy of that deed, and indeed they did. He sent it to me. See attached. I knew you would be interested and might want to share with Stockbridge Updates readers.
Lori A. Robbins, Esq.
HELLER & ROBBINS PC
With your vast knowledge of real estate law, I can understand your interest. Thank you so much for sharing these foundational documents with SU.
* * ^ * *
Sorry for the delay: we were checking about citation and permissions... documents are held at Williams College.
In terms of citing this document, please cite the Williams College Archives as the custodian of the material. [Williams] does not ask for permission for use or reproduction. You are free to use with attribution. I look forward to seeing these in Stockbridge Updates.
Thank you for the information and for all you do for Bidwell House and local history.
* * ^ * *
Please be advised that the statistical comments attributed to Patrick White in the April 1st edition of Stockbridge Updates are not factually accurate according to our Town Assessor.
In addition, although Patrick did mention 550-650 primary residences, I cannot find in the video of the meeting any mention of 1,700+ residential properties.
From Stockbridge Updates:
"White made an opening statement about the number of houses in Stockbridge that are still primary residences. Of 1700+ houses, only 650 are primary residences, quoting an analysis by Town Assessor Michael Blay. If it dips lower, White said, that will signal a crisis."
The public should be aware of the more accurate estimates of primary residences (725) and residential parcels (actually slightly less than 1400) in Stockbridge as reported to me by Michael Blay, Town Assessor, resulting in a second homeowner percentage of 51-52%. This percentage, according to our Town Assessor, has remained "pretty steady" over recent years.
The accurate representation of the statistics does not detract in any way from the concern that Patrick White was expressing but the public should be aware of the actual percentage of second homes.
Roxanne McCaffrey, Selectman
As you know, Patrick's remarks were made in context of the Short-Term Rental Bylaw (STR) discussion continued from the March 25th SB meeting. You preferred the registration process, and he preferred the permit process.
I don't know whose figures were correct since you both cite the same source, Michael Blay. However, Patrick was discussing "a trendline" that if it went in the wrong direction could indicate a "crisis", that is, a threat to "the residential character of Stockbridge." My guess is the "trend" was the point. You appear to argue that there is a trend. Perhaps you two could sort out the numbers?
We all want our three Select Board members working together with mutual respect in the best interest of Stockbridge. Thank you for your service.
* * ^ * *