Vol. II No. 12 6/15/2021
Notes from the Planning Board Meeting: June 1 via Zoom
- William Vogt, Chair
- Marie Raftery
- Carl Sprague
- Katherine Fletcher
- Nancy Socha
- Wayne Slosek
- Gary Pitney
- Jennifer Carmichael, secretary
- Vogt called first order of business to elect a Chair. Vogt and Fletcher nominated.
- Fletcher requested discussion about roles and expectations of Chair before voting. Vogt declined to discuss, saying, "Just doing elections…not going to talk about it… want to get nominations over with."
- Vote 4-3 in favor of Vogt. (After vote, question raised about whether Sprague, newest member, could vote if not sworn in. He declined to vote for rest of meeting until he met with Town Clerk to be sworn in.) Vote recorded as 4 – 2.
- Rafferty was elected Vice Chair.
- Socha elected PB Rep. to Berkshire Regional Planning.
- Pitney elected representative to Community Preservation Committee.
- Slosek elected Clerk.
- Approval of minutes. Fletcher said the minutes were not complete; there was a long discussion of the proposed $40,000 for consultants and not all PB members agreed with the need. Pitney suggested approval of minutes be deferred until amended.
- Special permit requested by Mackeenac Terrace Association to redesign steps to the access common dock. The Special Permit was approved with the understanding there would be native plantings and crushed stone to encourage use of steps (and not the hillside) and aid in run off. Chair waived reading the "required findings".
- Fletcher mentioned that there was an email from Town Counsel on a certain issue (unclear) and she had not received a copy. It went to the Chair, but he did not distribute.
- Justin Carafortes, owner Handcrafted Caterers, who leased 2 Depot Street (Railroad Station) for three years wanted a sign permit. His business sign would hang below the Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum sign and be the same size and shape. Permissible according to bylaw – approved use.
- Request for sign at 5 East Street. David Vanslette represented applicant. This was discussed and rejected previously. The sign was too big and (possibly) too tall according to bylaw. The applicant reduced size and height and it was approved.
- Name change requested by Stone Ridge. Attorney Nick Arienti not present – deferred.
- Public Hearing commenced on SB proposed change to the Table of Uses in Zoning Bylaw. Since it is a change to Zoning Bylaw, a public hearing is required. This would add Short Term Rentals to the Table and allow STR in all zoning districts. The proposed STR Bylaw is part of Stockbridge General Bylaws, but this part – relating to in which zoning districts (residential, commercial, etc) STRs are allowed -- is a change to Zoning Bylaw. Approved only as to allowing STR in Table of Uses; neither approving or disapproving of bylaw itself.
- Sign bylaw. There appears to be an internal contradiction. Chair wished to approve anyway until Carmichael shared that the Town Administrator said this proposed bylaw change will not appear on Warrant at this Town Meeting. It was voted (4 aye 2 nay) to come to next Town Meeting without further consideration.
- Proposed bylaw change to ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit) deferred.
- Rafferty suggested setting aside time at next PB meeting to discuss how each member feels about NRPZ.
Editor's note: (a) Since all members of PB are equally elected and equally deliberate and vote on issues, why would not legal opinions be distributed to all? (b) If PB votes continue to split 4/3, it will hobble the PB. Certain votes, definitely Special Permits and possibly some proposed Zoning Bylaw changes, require a minimum of 5 votes out of 7 to pass. Is the vote on the proposed Sign Bylaw change valid or binding?
Chipmunk on top of the big rock at the entrance to the Botanical Garden.