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Stretch Code Discussed At Adams Selectmen Meeting

By Patrick RonaniBerkshires Staff
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ADAMS, Mass. — The "Stretch Energy Code" won't make it onto this year's town warrant, but there was some talk regarding its pros and cons during Wednesday night's Board of Selectmen meeting.

Four of the five selectmen voted in favor of continuing the discussion to pursue a Green Communities status, which would require the town to meet five criteria, one of those being the passing of the stretch code. The code would apply to new buildings and additions to existing buildings.

Jason Hnatonko was the lone naye vote.

From left to right, Chairman Michael Oullette, Selectman Jason Hnatonko and Town Administrator Jonathan Butler.
"To me, this is the government overreaching," Hnatonko said. "We're telling people how they have to build a house as opposed to letting them decide how to build a house. The other four steps are a no-brainer; it's a way for the town to save money. But what we're doing here is telling people in this town how to build a house, how to build an addition."

The Center of Ecological Technology gave a presentation to the Selectmen during last week's workshop meeting, explaining the building requirements set forth in the stretch code, which would provide a more energy efficient alternative to the state's base code and save the homeowner in long-term costs. During the citizen's conference, resident Jeff Lefebvre expressed his concern that compliance costs would be too much.

"I believe in going green, but I don't believe it should be a mandate," Lefebvre said.

Pittsfield approved the code last month and Williamstown adopted it at Tuesday's town meeting.

Selectmen Arthur "Skip" Harrington strongly supported the code, saying it would assure future buyers that the homes in Adams are cost and energy efficient. Town Administrator Jonathan Butler said that, based on the presentation given by the CET last week, the renovations aren't as drastic as some might believe.

"All of the elements now are industry standard," Butler said. "They really are not a reach beyond what the current code provides for, or even what you get for selection when you go to Home Depot to buy products. While on paper, it stretches a little bit, it's not really stretching beyond the industry standard."

All of the Selectmen did agree, however, that the adoption of the stretch code won't be an article at this year's town meeting on Thursday, June 24.

Edward Driscoll provides information on a 'bulky waste collection' on Wednesday night.
In other business:

► The Selectmen set a public hearing for Wednesday, July 7, to define new language in the town's liquor license. The hearing request is to eliminate any "gray areas" in the town's policy that requires bars to be empty by 2 a.m. Selectmen are inviting local bar owners to attend the meeting to voice their questions or concerns.

"There are some errors on our liquor license," Harrington said. "There are some old laws that used to be state laws that are no longer in effect. We want to take a look at the closing hours for Adams and some other items on that license that are no longer in effect."

► The Selectmen unanimously approved the guidelines set for push cart vendors. The season for mobile food service season is from May 1 through Nov. 1 and restricted to the hours of 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

► Selectmen will vote on the warrant articles (to be presented at the June 24 town meeting) at their next workshop on Wednesday, May 26.

► During citizen's conference, it was revealed that the bi-weekly Selectmen workshops will now be broadcast on Northern Berkshire Community Television on the Friday following the workshop at 8 p.m.

► During citizen's conference, Lefebvre spread the word on a clothing drive for homeless veterans. If anyone has clothes they are willing to donate, please call Lefebvre at 413-743-5175.

► Former Selectman Edward Driscoll promoted the "Spring Clean Up Bulky Waste Collection" that will take place on Saturday, June 5, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The collection will take place at the landfill storage building area on East Road. Most scrap metal and appliances will be taken for free, while furniture, electronics, and other large items can be disposed of at a small fee. Any questions, call 413-743-8208.
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