NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Planning Board on Monday gave a reluctant OK to a smoking hut at St. Joseph's Court.
Vice Chairman Paul Hopkins, director of community relations for Northern Berkshire Healthcare, said his philosophy was "I'm opposed to all smoking shelters and I wish you were saying that you were going smoke free. ... But the chairman has pointed out to me smoking is a legal actitivty."
The chairman, Michael Leary, who holds a similar post with Berkshire Health Systems, agreed.
"I share my good friends principle, working for Berkshire Health Systems, however, it is a legal use of the property and it is private property."
St. Joseph's manager Gwen Cariddi said, "We have a no-smoking policy that took effect April 1 and we have a smoking area but it's not covered ... the company decided it wants a covered shelter."
The 78-unit elderly complex in the former high school is owned by SHP Management. Cariddi said it was a companywide decision to provide outside covered smoking areas for employees, visitors and residents.
The prefabricated, 5x7 Handi-Hut will be set back from the entrance but will not be visible from Veterans Memorial Highway or Eagle Street. The smoking hut will have an aluminum frame and be closed in on three sides with some type of translucent material (glass, Plexiglass) with an opaque, ventilated roof.
"We've never even used the parking Mr. Ransford gave us," said Hebert. "We haven't had the necessity to use it because Daryl [Roy] has always let us park over at NAPA."
Hebert said a more formal agreement is being worked on with Roy to take legal and insurance issues into consideration. He said he has 11 spots of his own plus more property to carve out another two.
Leary asked him to update the board by the next meeting.
In other business:
• The board approved a new sign for Espanas Tapas Restaurant on State Road. The successor to Isabella's will use the existing sign but replace it with its own sun logo.
• A raft of signs for the new Carr Hardware/True Value on State Road were approved; Planner Wayne Wilkinson was the lone negative vote because one of the signs is internally lit.
"I think we should treat one applicant exactly the same as everybody else," he said, recalling there had been issues about such signs.
Leary said he could not recall anyone who had applied recently who had not been approved for such a sign. Planner Joseph Gniadek said he believed the original issue had been that internally lit signs were plastic and where often not maintained properly when they broke.
Leary said a condition could be put on the Carr sign that "if it was damaged, it be brought back to its original condition." The condition was approved unanimously.
• Leary said Mohawk Motors "has exploded again" in the number of vehicles on the property. He asked the Compliance Committee to put the property on its agenda. Building Inspector William Meranti said he had made some "proactive visits" but gotten no response.
iBerkshires.com welcomes critical, respectful dialogue. Name-calling, personal attacks, libel, slander or foul language is not allowed. All comments are reviewed before posting and will be deleted or edited as necessary.