Clarksburg Selectmen Want Details on Golf Course Work

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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Planning Board Chairman David Sherman addresses the Selectmen about the work being done at the former North Adams Country Club.

CLARKSBURG, Mass. — The Selectmen want more details of what's happening at the former North Adams Country Club.

"We need to tell him to come in here and tell us what he's doing on that property," said Selectman William Schrade Jr. after a hearing a report from Planning Board Chairman David Sherman on Wednesday.

Golf course designer James Basiliere purchased the course in 2011 with the intent to build a 71-par 18-hole course.

Since then, he has reportedly changed his vision to a smaller par 3 course.

Sherman, who was designated to monitor the work, said Basiliere had moved on to Phase 2 of his plans but had yet to submit a detailed site plan.

"I've been doing site visits every 30 days," he said. "It specifically says in the permit that he have a delineated site plan before beginning Phase 2."

The work had extended beyond the initially approved five acres and Basiliere has incorporated reclamation — grading and reseeding the affected area — as part of the work on the holes, said Sherman. While it made sense, the lack of a site plan calls into question the work, he said.

Board members were also concerned that the course work being done may not align with the unseen site plan.

The Selectmen at Chairman Jeffrey Levanos' suggestion voted to set a deadline of Sept. 1 for a site plan and to have Basiliere come prior to that to explain his plans.

"I don't want to shut someone down," said Schrade. "But we don't want to reseed it and tear it apart.

"I'm hesitant letting the work to proceed. What happens if we don't get the site plan until sept. 1? It's a disaster up there."

Selectwoman Linda Reardon thought the September deadline was "a generous amount of time."

The board set a meeting for Monday, July 14, for further discussion on the course.

The board also heard from Town Clerk Carol Jammalo on the loss of the $1,000 stipends for the clerk and treasurer that had been rescinded at town meeting.  
Jammalo said she was not protesting but hoping the board could clarify why the stipend for getting state certified was taken away for those posts but not from the assessor.

"I'm struggling to understand the intention of the article," she said, adding that if she had known beforehand, she could have presented her case better.

Jammalo also questioned the legality of the stipend cut, noting the town had adopted the state law providing it.

Levanos said a number of items on the town meeting warrant were last minute because of the town's financial difficulties.

"No, you didn't get enough time, nobody did," he said. "It was extremely frustrating and everyone's paying the price now."

Reardon, who with Schrade was elected only a few months ago, said they had not known the assessor also received a stipend.

"When there's a lack of free cash, $2,000 makes a difference. That's a half a tank of oil," said Schrade. "It's crucial at the moment.

Town Clerk Carol Jammalo shares copies of the state laws regarding stipends for certified officials with the Selectmen.

"It wasn't made to pick on you or the tax collector/treasurer ... We pay for the schooling and while you're there [taking the test]. The extra compensation didn't make sense anymore."

Administrative Assistant Debra Choquette said she had contacted the town's attorneys, who said the warrant article was legal.

Schrade suggested the town get the opinion in writing.

In other business, the board:

Set the state primary election for Tuesday, Sept. 9. The last day to register to vote is Wednesda, Aug. 20, from 2 to 4 and 7 to 8 at Town Hall.

Approved a contract from July 2015 to June 2016 with Berkshire Health Alliance.

Learned that the application for a state Mass in Motion grant was denied because there was no town administrator to sign a commitment to the program. Reardon, currently still principal of the elementary school, said the school would be able to reapply next year.

Appointed David Gagne as conditional building inspector. Gagne is completely his requirements for the post.

Set a meeting with the Finance Committee for Friday at 5 p.m. to complete fiscal 2014 financial transactions prior to the state deadline of July 15.

Tags: golf course,   Mass in Motion,   special permit,   stipend,   town meeting,   

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