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Planning Board Meeting Cut Short By Illness

Tammy Daniels

Planners Joanne Derose, Wayne Wilkinson and Paul Senecal with a rendering of the west side of the Blackinton Mill.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Planning Board's Monday meeting was cut short after one its members became ill.

Planner Kyle Hanlon became ill and was taken by ambulance to the hospital. With Planners Joseph Gniadek, Paul Hopkins and Donald Keagan absent, it was determined that a quorum was not present and the meeting was ended after 15 minutes.

Chairman Michael Leary, left, and Planners Kyle Hanlon and Brian Miksic listen to David Moresi, at left. Shortly afterward, Hanlon excused himself.

The board had just wrapped up a public hearing on an application for a special permit for residential units in the Blackinton Mill when Hanlon excused himself. David Moresi of Moresi Associates, who was representing Magid Mill LLC in the hearing and is also a paramedic, was called into the hallway to assess Hanlon and an ambulance was called to City Hall.

Prior to that, Moresi had been presenting a proposal for six 1,000-square-foot loft/studio units in the Massachusetts Avenue mill. Moresi said the artists lofts, the only residential spaces allowed in an industrial zone, are the second phase in the redevelopment of the historic mill.

"We have to basically market this toward an artist clientele in this particular zoning," he said. "With the Williamstown Theatre being there, with another entity we're in discussions with, it ties in well."

Williamstown Theatre Festival set up its production facilities in the mill earlier this spring. Moresi said since April, "just north of $500,000" has been invested in the building.

Planner Wayne Wilkinson asked if the exterior and landscaping will be completed before the lofts are. Moresi said it would be done in tandem but the west side of the building is dependent on the owners reaching a deal on city-owned land abutting the property.

Nor would the development of the units be dependent on purchase agreements since they will be rentals, he said. "We get a lot of calls, believe it or not, from people looking to rent studio space."

He did caution that while the owners were eager to start, they were cautious businessmen.

"They are ready to move forward ... obviously, the global economy, the national economy plays a big role as it does in any significant development project," Moresi said. "Obviously, the news over the past few days (in the stock market) makes us all step back a bit but they're pretty excited."

Also postponed was an application by Snoford LLC for a special permit to operate a package store, by request; a hearing on a special permit for Bark-N-Cat to move from Eagle Street to 28 Holden St.; and a hearing on a special permit for J Star Gymnastics to operate at 69 Union St.

Editors' Note: all the cases were approved at the rescheduled meeting the following week.

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