Vol. II No. 12 6/15/2021
Proposed Professional Planner for Stockbridge
by Jim Murray
There is a great deal of misunderstanding about the proposed Natural and Historic Resource Protection Zoning (NHRPZ) bylaw for Stockbridge. The bylaw does not promote nor does it limit subdivision developments. Review only occurs only after a subdivision is proposed.
The Planning Board successfully used this concept in Stockbridge in the 1980's. One location was at Winden Hill on Old Stockbridge Road, the site of Berkshire Christian College. The developer's goal was to maximize the number the building sites by spreading them across the entire campus. The goal of the Board was to preserve the view of the school's large brick building, maintain the extensive lawns along Old Stockbridge Rd and to minimize the runoff into Lily Pond. The Board had all units moved from the front of the property and shortened the long road to the pond. All the building units would be clustered at the top of the hillside.
Oronoque, the home of Indian Hill Music School at the corner of Old Meeting House and Prospect Hill Roads objective was to maintain the original character of the property. The old original building and the large open lawn were preserved by locating all the new housing units behind the main building.
Because the subdivision roads required waivers, the Planning Board negotiated improved layouts of subdivisions. The number of units in the original proposals was the same number as the number that were approved in the eventual design. By using the method of waivers to modify proposals, the Planning Board probably exceed its authority in granting the new subdivision configurations.
The subdivisions are probably unnoticed by most in town. Winden Hill maintained the rural charter of Old Stockbridge Road and reduced the runoff into Lily Pond. At Oronque the town enjoys the extensive lawn and beauty of the historic building.
The value of a comprehensive review prior to a subdivision approval is essential. The bylaws need to spell out the authorities and responsibilities of the planning board and to provide guidance for the evaluation of projects. Bylaw development is a complicated process and requires the professional guidance for drafting a bylaw that reflects the goals and priorities Stockbridge. Please support the funding to hire a planner with experience to draft a NHRP bylaw.
Heaton Court in the summertime.