Vol. III No. 23 12/1/2022
Reader to Reader
My wife and I hiked up to the semi-circular memorial bench above the Rostrum a few weeks ago and met Verne Tower, who was nearly done with his summer-long work to restore the bench. He said he also built the amphitheater at Turn Park and worked on many of the other stone monuments and features in and around Stockbridge. What a treasure! Have you ever interviewed and written about him? It would make a great article about both a dedicated local craftsman and local history.
Thank you, Carole - at least now I think I know what is going on in the village even if I'm not
sure of all the details. YOU DO A GREAT JOB FOR US ALL.
Again, thank you, Mary Balle
Has Stockbridge been slipping away in the second home era? Many working middle- and upper- middle class people lived here 50 years ago. GE and the mills still gave people such opportunities. The market forces that brought the sweeping change of second home dominance were not a choice we made.
Affordable housing is a goal we have already met per state law and we are one of only a few towns in the county in compliance on this. Second homes do not count in this calculation. The census shows us that children still live here, we are not entirely a town of aging, retired residents. But we are now a town of limited access for those with average means, regardless of age, as market forces threaten to overbuild expensive homes and even resorts in town and may ultimately drive some of us out.
Addressing this without destroying the town's aesthetic character is the challenge. As Nina Ryan has said, the impact of scale is important. I think it's the most critical factor. Address the preservation of balance in all things, natural, historic, cultural — and housing. The developer-friendly building by-law that the town's pro-development folks spent two years and thousands of taxpayer dollars pushing was defeated because, in the rush to build and make money, nobody on the development side would acknowledge the "impact of scale" such a law would create. It was about profits. Profits are neither good nor bad. Until somebody kills the goose that lays the golden egg.
Preserving the balance of livability and heritage can be tough. That heritage includes a unique combination of qualities. We are stewards passing through. America is down to a handful of towns like Stockbridge. The very qualities that make these towns unique make them vulnerable. Keeping at least of few of them intact goes way beyond NIMBY-ism. Long ago, some pretty thoughtful and respected Stockbridge residents created our "green necklace" 2 and 4 acre zoning concept, based on existing density and Olmstead's design principles, to preserve the balance of our one-of-a kind setting and our future needs. But people forget...
Social engineering the housing market here may make some outside development group wealthy on cluster housing. The cruise-ship-on-a-hillside look works for some. Or maybe there's another way. With only 29% of residents voting, a lot more people need to get involved in this discussion.
To the Editor,
I think your opening letter [Editorial: All About Us] was very well put.
You're a voice of reason in a room full of noise. Well done!
To the Editor:
I just finished viewing the November 15th Planning Board meeting, regarding the requested approval process from the Select Board for a recommendation regarding the White Pines property. Amazing that some members failed to recognize that what the decision really amounted to was giving the Building Inspector, who is employed by our town and is noted for following the regulations, the discretion to decide on plans submitted by the homeowners, who initially have to go through a rigorous approval process from their HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION, to be able to proceed.
Our building inspector is fully capable of representing the town in a professionally technical capacity and the Planning Board should have acknowledged and accepted that simple fact — especially when the added requirement of approval by the homeowner's association is a prerequisite for him to even consider it.
The Board voted 4 to 3 against the recommendation. A Stunning vote after wasting so much time on something that should have been a simple matter. Simply amazing.
Please note: I write this as a personal letter and not as a member of any town committee or board.
Photo: Joan Gallos