Lanesborough Voters Asked To Approve Aerial Adventure Park Bylaw

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
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The Selectmen set a special town meeting for Feb. 12.

LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Voters will finally get a say in the proposed aerial adventure.

Last April, Feronia Holdings LLC proposed developing a seven-acre park of hiking trails, zip lines and ropes courses on Brodie Mountain Road. However, the town's new zoning bylaws eliminated those types of parks.

The Selectmen then promised to take an amendment to a special town meeting.

When the town held a special meeting in fall, the adventure park was not on the warrant because the company did not want their zoning amendment to conflict with zoning amendments for dock bylaws.

But now, the Selectmen have called another special town meeting which will focus on the zoning amendment needed to bring the park to town. The meeting is scheduled for Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. at town hall.

"This is something that we support. We think it is a great addition to town. It brings some tax base and brings some people," Selectman William Prendergast said.

Town officials have had multiple conversations about how to craft the amendment. The version heading to town meeting defines outdoor adventure recreation facilities as "land, buildings, improvements, facilities and related appurtenances to be used for commercial operation of a ropes course or other challenge type courses, zip lines, canopy tours, hiking and biking trail (excluding trails for motorcycles, atvs and utvs) laser tag and other similar outdoor recreational activities associated typically associated with aerial adventure parks."

The bylaw allows the park by special permit and requires a minimum lot size of 10 acres, that 75 percent of the elements shall be suspended by trees and exceptions were made to height restrictions for the apparatuses.

The special town meeting is being paid for by Feronia.

"We've been supportive of this since the beginning and I am glad that they'll pay for it," Selectman Robert Barton said.

Attorney Jonathan Sabin, who is representing Feronia, described the course as "good for revenue, good for jobs and good for having something to do."

""There are minimal impacts and it draws people to town," Sabin said.

While Feronia will be the main item at the special meeting, the Selectmen added two others (and could soon be adding a third) warrant articles.

Town Administrator Paul Sieloff shows off the junior youth football championship and the Mount Greylock Regional High School football championship trophies,  which are now on display at town hall.

Police Officer Timothy Sorrell and Police Chief Mark Bashara put forth a bylaw to restrict "pawnbrokers and secondhand dealers."

Sorrell led the petition saying that there are multiple places buying jewelry and gold - particularly at the mall - but they do not have to keep records of what they buy. Currently he gets documentation from the stores but the quality varies.

The bylaw would set requirements for documenting all merchandise, require a 15-day period before it can be resold and make all vendors apply for licenses from the town. The goal would the be able to held police investigations by being able to search for stolen property.

"Unfortunately, most of it is turning out to be stolen," Sorrell said as he presented the Selectmen with a stack of documentation from the various stores. "Right now, all I can do is thank them when they give me these slips."

Bashara said the law would help discourage the "bad guys" from opening up shop. The law also includes fines for those who do not document the merchandise. Lanesborough officers are often called to attain documents for investigations in other towns because the items could likely be resold there.

Similarly, voters will be asked to pass a similar law for scrap metal dealers. That law was less important for police because the town only has one business - Sayer's Autowrecking - buying scrap metal. Police said that company is also "very good" at working with Police and documenting the items.

The Selectmen tabled the discussion on a fourth item which would increase the fees for demand letters for late payments. The one-time fee would increase from $5 to $30.

Chairman John Goerlach and Barton had opposing views on it with Goerlach concerned that the increase would even further hurt those families that are financially struggling. Barton, however, believed that it isn't increasing the obligations but rather punishing those who do not fulfill their obligations.

That item could still go to town meeting after the next Selectmen's meeting.

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