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BRPC Hears Update To 'Last Mile' Broadband Plan

Finishing out the so-called "last mile" of broadband connectivity will take a flexible approach, giving towns an array of options to connect, according to Massachusetts Technology Collaborative implementation liaison Bill Ennen. Ennen was appointed to the role which serves as an middle man between the state's Massachusetts Broadband Initiative and individual towns in June at the same time former Pittsfield state Rep. Peter Larkin was appointed to chair the MBI board. The two are now heading t

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BRPC: Airfield Ruling Has Deep Implications to Zoning Laws

A recent appeals court ruling against the town of Sheffield may have impacts on zoning throughout the state. In May a Massachusetts Appeals Court decision sided with Sheffield Resident John Hanlon in a battle over a private landing strip Hanlon built and registered. The strip was just some 1,250-feet long in a field among some 38-acres of land he owns. The landing strip was registered with the state and sat in a mowed hayfield.

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Berkshire Planners Lobbying State For DLTA Program Funding

BRPC is ramping up its advocacy for the district local technical assistance program. The DLTA program is state funded and provides money for towns to contract with the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission for assistance in a number of planning areas including zoning, permitting, land use, water resources, transportation, information technology and others.

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Cheshire Finds New Use For Pipeline Funds

The recent suspension of Kinder Morgan's Northeast Energy Direct pipeline project is freeing up funds for the town's master plan. The Selectmen received a letter from the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission thanking them for being part of the working group the commission hosted that provided towns affected by the pipeline with counsel and legal representation.

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BRPC Director Reflects on Origins During 50th Year

This is the 50th year Berkshire Regional Planning Commission has been in existence. On Thursday, Executive Director Nathaniel Karns honored the anniversary by providing highlights from the first 25 years, showing where the commission had been on the frontline with major issues. The commission formed in 1966 and a year later Karl Hekler was hired as the first staff member as executive director, a position he'd keep for 25 years. The first issue facing the commission was plans for an interst

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Berkshire Planners Object to Transportation, Development Cuts

The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission is taking aim at Gov. Charlie Baker's proposed fiscal 2017 budget. The commission on Thursday approved sending a letter to state lawmakers outlining its opposition to cuts that will affect transportation and development issues in the region. Executive Director Nathaniel Karns took aim at four areas of the budget: public transportation, environmental protection, brownfields funding, and money for economic development organizations.

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BRPC Supports Efforts to Designate 'Bicycle Route 7' Through Berkshires

Long-distance cyclists may soon be directed to bike through the Berkshires. The American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials are developing a massive highway system designation throughout the country for long-distance bicyclists to map out routes. What is eyed as US Bicycle Route 7 is eyed to connect Connecticut with Vermont. It's connecting regions and states much like the highway system," said Berkshire Regional Planning Commission Senior Planner Emily Lindsey.

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Cheshire Interested In Community Compact And Forestry Program

The town will pursue the state Community Compact Program in hopes of receiving grant funding for its master plan. Thomas Matusko urged the Selectmen on Tuesday to sign the agreement developed by the Baker administration that allows municipalities to take advantage of state services and assistance to complete agreed-upon best practices.cs

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BRPC Trying To Get Ahead On OPEB Liabilities

BRPC is trying to get ahead on its "other postemployment benefits." In 2009, Massachusetts passed a law requiring government agencies to disclose the liability. OPEB consists mostly of health insurance for future retirees and the focus of most agencies is to start a trust fund, which will eventually be used to pay those benefits pulling that annual expense from the operating budget.

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State Pushing Complete Street Program; Eyes Changes to MPO System

"We see this program having a lot of benefit to smaller communities as well as the cities." — Clete Kus

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BRPC: $815 Million Invested In Berkshire County Since 2012

"I expect that to be underestimated because that is just the stuff we know." mdash; Brian Domina

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FERC Extends Pipeline Comment Period

"We will probably be submitting something pushing 100 pages." — Nathaniel Karns

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BRPC Seeking 'Economic Development District' Designation For County

"There are currently eight of these in Massachusetts." — Brian Domina

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BRPC Plans Workshop On Local Permits For Gas Pipeline Project

"What we do have and have strong credibility is in how to mitigate impacts in our communities if it comes to pass." — Nathaniel Karns

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Pittsfield Earmarks CDBG Funds For Projects In Low Income Areas

"We're really looking to bring economic opportunities to the city." — Doug Clark

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BRPC: County Short On Manufacturing Sites

"The lack of land in Berkshire County isn't an issue. The lack of infrastructure and the zoning is the issue." — Brian Domina

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Cheshire Looks To Join BRPC Pipeline Work Group

"Every place this pipeline goes there is a benefit to the host community and that is negotiable." — Mark Webber

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Cheshire Considers Joining BRPC Pipeline Group

"If it's $20,000 to $30,000 with all 12 towns in, we still don't have that." — Chairwoman Carol Francesconi

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BRPC: Inclusionary Zoning Helps Towns Increase Affordable Housing

"We're trying to figure out how to get more affordable housing into our communities." — Brian Domina

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BRPC Raising Community Assessments 2.5 Percent

"It will not solve the general fund's problem but we need to take every step possible to return it to a positive situation." — Nathaniel Karns

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BRPC Crafting County Transportation Plan

"We need people throughout the region to let us know what works well and what needs improvement." — Nat Karns

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Lenox Hires New Town Planner

"Gwen, I think, is going to do very well in that position." — Ken Fowler

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BRPC Concludes Train Station Study, Encourages Towns To Stay Involved

"Each of these six communities will want to support any mitigation of predicted impacts." — Gwen Miller.

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BRPC Wants Language Holding GE Responsible For All Pollutants

"GE felt they were able to walk away from contamination that continued to come off the site." — Nathaniel Karns

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Conservation Law Foundation Attorney Guides Towns Through Pipeline Process

"Whatever record FERC has before them at the end of that process is what FERC will base their decision on." — Shanna Cleveland

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