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The Board of Selectmen were updated about the Garden Grill on Monday.

Lanesborough Looking To Curb Violent Incidents At Local Bar

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
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LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Police are now parking a cruiser outside of the Garden Grill to help curb an outbreak of recent trouble.
The Selectmen had warned manager Armando Charis to keep a closer eye on patrons earlier this month after three incidents of fights breaking out. And the following weekend, a man was jumped in the parking lot and ended up with a broken jaw.
According to Police Chief Timothy Sorrell, in the most recent incident, a patron had a fight with some people in Pittsfield earlier. Those people then attacked him after he left the Garden Grill, breaking his jaw. 
"The last one, I can't blame on his establishment," Sorrell told the Selectmen on Monday, but warned that the crowd the bar is attracting is leading to these type of incidents.
Previously, a fight had broken out inside of the bar and then spilled out into the parking lot. Sorrell had said that often patrons were loitering in the parking lot after the bar had closed and fights were breaking out. Sorrell said the bar is becoming a place for "last call" and that is leading to trouble.
So for the last two weekends, he's been parking a cruiser in the fire lane outside of the establishment from 11:30 p.m. until close. He hopes the presence will help curb the incidents and so far it has been working.
"I'm going to keep doing what we are doing. If call volume permits, I'm going to park a guy in the fire lane," Sorrell said.
A few years ago the Selectmen had required Charis to pay for a police officer to be on duty at the establishment for a period of time. The Selectmen threatened to do that again or curtail the business hours. Charis has opposed the requirement of an officer, saying it will hurt his business. 
Charis did not attend Monday's meeting but Sorrell feels that between recent meetings with him and the cruiser parked outside "maybe he has gotten the message." 
"I don't want to ruin his business. Maybe he has gotten the message. I'd say give them another chance," Sorrell said.
Nonetheless, until the number of incidents starts to drop, Sorrell said he will continue to keep an officer close by.
In other business, Town Manager Paul Sieloff said he is looking to schedule a special town meeting on February 13, 2018.
"The main focus on this is marijuana legislation," Sieloff said.
The Planning Board is crafting bylaws to regulate where and how many marijuana businesses can open. Planning Board member Ronald Tinkham said the board is looking to mirror the regulations the town has on alcohol.
Towns need to have zoning bylaws in place in order to have control over the opening of new businesses - otherwise, a marijuana retailer will be allowed anywhere in town any other type of retailer is allowed to operate.
The Selectmen are also looking to adopt a complete streets policy. Town officials had been somewhat concerned about the process, feeling the policy would lock them into doing sidewalks and bicycle lanes in areas of town that don't make sense.
However, Sieloff said the town can craft the language to have some flexibility and that it would help get state support for projects. Specifically, Sieloff has his eyes on sidewalks and curbing for Summer Street.
"If we set it up properly we could get Summer Street's sidewalks and curbs done, about $400,000 worth of work done, at no cost to the town," Sieloff said.
The town is looking to contract with Berkshire Regional Planning Commission to write the policy.
Sieloff also reported on Monday that while the Berkshire Mall is losing another major tenant in Sears, the town has been advised not to change the assessment. The town consults with Patriot Properties for help with the assessments.
Sieloff said the mall owner is out of compliance with a number of filings with the town and often behind on taxes. The law requires the property owner to be caught up on taxes before it can appeal and the lack of filings makes it more difficult to come up with an accurate assessment. So Patriot Properties is suggesting to leave the assessment the same.
The town will also have two tree lightings in the coming week. On Thursday, Nov. 30 at 7 p.m. the town's annual tree lighting ceremony will be held at the memorial park next to the police station. There will be food and drinks available and the elementary school chorus will be singing.
And then on Dec. 3, at 5 p.m. there will be a tree lighting at St. Luke's Village Church with carols and snacks. Organizers are also collecting donations for the Veteran's Food Pantry. 

Tags: Berkshire Mall,   

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