Letters: Housing Committee Working to Expand Opportunities

Letter to the Editor
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To the Editor:

Williamstown is becoming increasingly older and wealthier. Young families and singles have limited options for rental and owner-occupied housing that is affordable. Though home prices here have declined somewhat over the last several years, home ownership is still out of reach for many.

The Affordable Housing Committee seeks to increase the availability of housing that is affordable for those who
live or work in Williamstown. A range of housing options will contribute to the economic and age diversity that is essential for the town’s future.

Williamstown has many amenities: natural beauty, cultural institutions, good schools, and well-run town government. Towns with these advantages tend to have higher housing costs than towns that lack them. There is, however, another factor at work: land use. We must face the fact that the decisions we make about land use impact housing costs.

The Town of Williamstown is approximately 47 square miles: 30,000 acres. Currently, 89 percent of our land is forest, wetlands, cropland, pasture or in conservation. That leaves 11 percent available for residential, commercial and municipal use. It is undeniable that the limited amount of land available for residential use drives up housing costs.

We look forward to working together with all residents of Williamstown to address our housing needs. Working in good faith, we must consider solutions that work for the benefit of all. Positions that preclude compromise benefit no one. Together we must decide how best to use our resources for the future of Williamstown.

These six people constitute the full membership of the Williamstown Affordable Housing Committee.

Bilal Ansari
Charles Bonenti
Van Ellet
Cheryl Shanks
Leigh Short
Catherine Yamamoto
March 4, 1993

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Mount Greylock Committee Hears Concerns About Turf Field Plan

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff

Rubber infill from the turf field at Weston Field adheres to a reporter's leg after a minute lying down on the surface to take a photo.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Mount Greylock School Committee last week declined to slow plans for installing an artificial turf field at the middle-high school but members noted that there is still time to weigh health and environmental concerns before shovels go into the ground.
The full School Committee earlier in the spring authorized the Phase 2 grounds subcommittee to put the turf field out to bid this summer.
Since that time, committee members have heard from a number of residents concerned about studies that have linked "infill" materials in used in turf fields to higher rates of cancer and environmental contamination due to runoff from those fields.
"Some of the chemicals found in crumb rubber are known to cause cancer," a fact sheet from the Toxics Use Reduction Institute at University of Massachusetts at Lowell reads in part. "Because of the large number of chemicals present in the infill, as well as the health effects of individual chemicals, crumb rubber made from recycled tires is the option that likely presents the most concerns related to chemical exposures."
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