Administrative Assistant Kathy Poirot swears in Van Ellet and Bilal Ansari to the Affordable Housing Committee.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Town Manager Peter Fohlin doubts that any more than 75 homes at the Spruces Mobile Home Park will be reoccupied, barely a third of the park's residences.
Fohlin said on Monday that 54 owners have been issued occupancy permits but that might be the end of the "low-hanging fruit." Demolition permits were issued for 57 homes — the first time demolition permits outnumbered the occupancy permits. The park was damaged by flooding during Tropical Storm Irene.
"We're pretty much through the low-hanging fruit and the prospects for additional trailers passing all the necessary steps to receive a certificate of occupancy diminishes by the day. I think it is doubtful that we reach 75, which is a third of the trailers that were there before [Tropical Storm] Irene," Fohlin said.
Fohlin said seven to nine additional homes could be restored with the help of trailer supports designed by Techno Post. The homes need to abide by new building codes that require the trailer to be lifted above flood level.
Fohlin said the town is in constant communication with both Morgan Management and Attorney General Martha Coakley's office about the case.
Owners of 138 homes that are currently condemned are qualified to received additional funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Fohlin said. Eight out of 14 request letters were granted additional funding and each owner could received up to $30,200 to move or repair the home.
In other news, the Selectmen approved sending proposed zoning bylaws that would allow farms to host events to the Planning Board. The Planning Board has already encouraged the owners of Cricket Creek Farm to draft a proposal. The board now has taken the first step toward putting the changes on the town meeting warrant.
However, Selectman Tom Costley said the move to allow farms to host events was "crazy" if it was done by right instead of by special permit. Costley cited former "wars" over land use in South Williamstown, traffic increases and an "unfair" advantage the farms would have over performance spaces because of Agricultural Preservation Restriction tax incentives.
"I don't want to kill this. I want to raise those question," Costley said, adding the conversation is just beginning and the town should fully vet the proposal.
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Tom Costley is a breath of fresh air. His comment shows he is informed about the issue. "By right" is a technical zoning term that is differentiated from "by special permit." All he is saying is that the Planning Board, in whose area of expertise this proposed bylaw really needs to be evaluated, should think hard about the unintended consequences that a "by right" vs. a "by special permit" finding might have.
The reason Costley is unpopular with some people is that he tends to take the long view while most people focus on narrow short-term interests.
I think the previous post is onto something but perhaps places the blame too specifically.
The neighbors of 5 Corners/Green River (and some local govt. folks) threw a giant stink about the installation of the playground at Green River Farm and made it difficult for the owner to pursue a sustainable business model. Now you've got a blighted, empty property with an owner who (perhaps justifiably) has an axe to grind and is fine with letting us watch the apples rot on the trees while he cools his heels in Florida.
5 Corners went under for a couple different reasons, mainly bad business, but the South Williamstown NIMBYism that Mr. Costley was happy to represent was a huge factor for it staying shut. Anybody remember the playscape being deemed a house by the building inspector in the town's attempt to make the owners tear it down because South Williamstown residents considered it an eyesore? The town was finally shamed into finding a loophole to allow it because the owner demanded to see all the permits for all the roofed playscapes in Williamstown.
Why would anybody buy a tourist driven store and farm that is in the middle of the hornets nest?
And now he wants to make sure the town keeps control of farms that are trying to innovate and have events to stay above water.
I hate politicians who want to keep people under their thumb.
As one of the residents who has been working on having the technoposts done on my home at the spruces i would like to correct a statement that was printed in this article that read-Fohlin said seven to nine additional homes could be restored with the help of trailer supports designed by Techno Post. The homes need to abide by new building codes that require the trailer to be lifted above flood level.- This is incorrect as we do not have to raise our homes we only have to replace cement piers that were tilted or failed with 4 foot footers below the frost line. This is why the posts are being putting in. I just wanted to clarify this