Public Safety Committee OKs Montana Parking Ban
The overnight parking ban would cover Montana from Hoosac to Bond, all within the campus area,
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Public Safety Committee will recommend the City Council amend its parking regulations to ban overnight parking on Montana Street between Hoosac and Bond streets.
Instituting a year-round winter parking ban on the residential street comes at the request of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts because of the instances of students living on-campus parking in the street rather than in college parking lots. The overnight parking reduces the spaces for commuter students and residents of the neighborhood, according to college officials.
A couple councilors expressed concern at the last City Council meeting that instituting the ban was forcing the city to deal with student parking rather than the college. They also noted that the city's winter parking ban covered most of the college's academic year anyway.
"If I had another option I would propose it but this seems the least harmful to everyone," said James Stakenas, MCLA vice president of administration and finance, at the Public Safety Committee meeting on Monday. He said the college's public safety department would aid in any ticketing and enforcement.
Committee Chairman Alan Marden asked if the college was looking at long-range solutions for future growth, considering the construction of the new science center.
MaryAnn King, chairman of the Traffic Commission that had previously approved the request, expressed concern that students in the Townhouse dormitories were perforce having to park on the street because only one parking permit was being allowed with each three or four-person dorm.
Stakenas said 25 spots were being added across the street and that that college expected to stay at about 2,000 students over the next five years. However, he couldn't guarantee the ratio between on-campus and commuter students; this year, the number of commuter students has risen.
The committee also approved, pending approval from the state, the painting of the MCLA letters on two crosswalks on Ashland Street near the Townhouses and two on Church Street near the Berkshire Towers and its parking lot.
King said she had spoken to state officials who indicated to her that the state would not approve the lettering because of safety and liability concerns. The state must approve any street changes in the college area.
Stakenas said the college would still submit a letter seeking endorsement. "I'd like the opportunity to try."
Planners OK Newspaper Move, Garage Rebuild
The former McClellands at 87 Main will be the new home of the Transcript — within spitball distance of iBerkshires.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Planning Board on Monday, July 11, approved special permits for the relocation of the North Adams Transcript, the reconstruction of Cariddi Auto and the expansion of Creation and Empire Antiques.
The Transcript, which is selling its building at 124 American Legion Drive to Scarafoni Associates, is moving to 87 Main St., formerly occupied by McClelland's.
The 3,000 square feet will be used for the newspaper's staff and advertising department and is expected to be occupied within the next month or two.
Guy R. Cariddi is rebuilding his auto sales and garage at 676 Curran Highway that went up in flames earlier this year. The new building will be constructed two feet south of the current site to comply with current setbacks and will be 148 square-feet larger.
"While it was a disaster for Mr. Cariddi, it will allow the building to be reconstructed to meet code," said attorney Stephen Pagnotta, representing Cariddi. "It will be a brand-new building."
The board approved a special permit for new construction in an I-1 zone, with all prior conditions in place.
Keith Bona, owner of Creations, and James Montepare, owner of Empire Antiques, are expanding into what had been Main Street Stage at 57 Main St. The two successfully combined forces last year to expand from Bona's gift shop operation at 59 Main St. into 61 Main.
"We want the signage to flow over all three [storefronts]," said Bona. "They will be big letters, molded, antique gold similar to what is currently on Shear Madness and what was prior on Moulton's General Store ... on a green background."
He said the space is currently painted all black but once done, he expected 57 Main to be the most beautiful. "It has the orginal tin ceilings, the original hardwood floors and some of the original woodwork."
They also asked for extended hours to 10 p.m. for special events and added Sunday hours of 10 to 5, although they expected to only open from 10 to 2. Regular hours are 10 to 5.
In other business:
• The board approved signage and a special permit for Public Eat and Drink at 34 Holden St. Jared Decoteau has purchased Taylor's Restaurant and plans to reopen as Public once all permits and licenses are in place.
• Kennard and Janet Sherman, who ran into objections last month about their proposal to turn a neglected property at 456 Ashland St. into a retail business, withdrew their application.
• An application by Snoford LLC to open a package store at 76 Union St. was continued.
• A request by Yaling Wang of the Sushi House at 37 Main St. to put tables on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant was approved, although the board requested she work with the Office of Community Development on the appearance of the tables and chairs. Wang said no alcohol will be served outside the restaurant.
• Reviewed the parking modifications being done by Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts on Ashland Street. The college plans to add more green space between the lots and the street, add more lighting and remove an island between the property owned by the MCLA Foundation and the state.
|Tags: Transcript, Cariddi, Snoford|
City, College Look at How to Draw Students Downtown
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — College students are looking for more retail variety and information about events in the downtown. They also feel pretty safe in the city and would like more recreational opportunities.
The data comes from a survey done by Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts seniors Corey Brown and Meghan McMahon, who presented the information to the City Council on Tuesday night.
The project, part of a class with professor Nancy Ovitsky, was designed to find out what would draw students from the Church Street college to the city's main retail center. Councilor David Bond had met with the students in January as part of conversations about how better to tap into the college's 1,000-odd population.
Brown said 160 students responded to the survey, citing they would like more restaurants (including a bakery and health food) and more retail outlets, especially sports or discounters like TJ Maxx.
"A lot of the students, what they're looking for is for businesses to stay open longer," said Brown.
Councilor Lisa Blackmer agreed that later hours would be nice but said the city had little control over businesses opening. She wondered if retailers were doing their best to reach out to students.
Meghan McMahon and Corey Brown, seniors at MCLA, said students were interested in the city but often didn't know what was happening or available downtown.
McMahon said social media was the best way to reach students now, a situation that had changed dramatically since she'd entered college. "It used to be coupons in our mailboxes but now students just throw them away."
Students want to do things in North Adams and the area, she said, but many venues were not easily accessible, such as Greylock Bowl. Students would like to see more recreational activities, such as bowling or a skateboard park, closer to the college and have more information about events.
"I think the students would like to see a lot more marketing to those events downtown," McMahon said.
In response to a question by Councilor Alan Marden, McMahon and Brown said they had not included Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in the survey because it was a major attraction and the college was already heavily involved with the museum.
Both students and councilors agreed that the city could not be described as a "college town." Mayor Richard Alcombright said he was working with the college on coordinating sidewalk clearance during the winter and would look into more lighting around the Pitcher's Mound, which some students felt was unsafe.
He also held out some hope that the city would be able to move forward with a basic skateboard park at MoCA.
"We do see a great change from being a freshman," said McMahon. "I think we can make it better. There are other college towns much bigger than this that we could get ideas from."
Councilor Keith Bona noted that students will spend if they find something they like. He said the college clientele at his Main Street store had increased tenfold.
"I didn't think college students liked antiques but they do ... ."
In other business, the council:
• Put off a recommendation to adopt the state's anti-idling statute until it could be submitted in order form.
• Appointed Aurora Cooper, a student at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, to the Youth Commission.
• Referred to the Community Development Committee a request to change all or a section of Grimes Street to Cascade Way at the request of Cascade School Supplies.
• Read through a lengthy list of committee reports.
|Tags: students, survey|
West End Market Permit Still in Effect
The Planning Board tries a new table configuration.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The owner of the West End Market has until 2012 to find a tenant after the city solicitor determined his special permit had not lapsed.
Barry Garton had expected to move his BrewHaHa cafe to the West Main Street location but found the renovation of the historic building ate up all his investment. Last month, he approached the Planning Board with a request to extend his special permit to give him time to find a leasee and to prevent the commercial building from reverting to residential.
Mick Callahan of Callahan Sign Co. holds a mock-up of new MCLA signs.
The board delayed a vote until it received a legal opinion on whether Garton's continued renovations since 2006 could be categorized as "substantial use" according to zoning ordinances.
The opinion of DeRosa Dohoney LLP was that the construction from 2006 to December 2010 could be considered substantial use. "Mr. Garton may seek a tenant for the property and seek a change in his permit once the tenant has been been secured," the letter states.
The Planning Board took no action since the special permit remains in effect for two years once "substantial use" ceases. Garton said he hoped to find a tenant.
The board approved new signage for Porter Street buildings owned by the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Foundation. Chairman Michael Leary, who teaches an adjunct class at the college, abstained from participating.
"We put all these buildings in our admission materials as numbered buildings — 92 Porter, 100 Porter, 72 Porter — so having the sign on the building helps with our mission to people finding them," said James Stakenas, vice president of administration and finance. "They are also listing the departments in the buildings."
Mick Callahan of Callahan Sign Co. provided a mock-up of the design. Stakenas said a free-standing sign also would be installed at 132 Corinth St., the administration and finance office building.
In other business, the board:
•Reviewed a letter from Cariddi Auto Agency stating it had temporarily moved operations to Ernie's Auto Sales former location on Curran Highway. The business had suffered a devastating fire last month. Building Inspector William Meranti said all sales and dispatch service was at the new site but the tow trucks will be parked off-site and the impound lot would remain at the original location.
Michael Leary and Paul Hopkins laugh at Leary's 'opposition' to their re-election.
•Approved signage for the new RUB restaurant on Marshall Street in the former Gramercy Bistro location. Alexander "Sandy" Smith, chef-owner of Gramercy, which moved to the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art campus, will operate the barbecue joint.
•Approved the application of Matthew Berger to open a musical instruction school with ancillary retail sales business at 40 Eagle St.
•Welcomed new members Joanne DeRose (again) and Brian Miksic. Re-elected Leary as chairman and Paul Hopkins as vice chairman of the board, and named Kyle Hanlon as representative to the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission. Leary's mispoken response to the vote, "show myself and Mr. Hopkins as opposed," ended the meeting with laughter.
|Tags: Planning Board|
Schoolchildren Visit Massachusetts College
Lab technician Jeremy Smith leads Sullivan Elementary School 3rd-graders in a pinkie vow to do their homework. The children are pupils of Anna Saldo-Burke and Megan Gorton.
|The rainbow-hued flames drew oooohs of admiration on Friday morning as chemistry lab technician Jeremy Smith gave groups of third-graders some elemental lessons in how colors appear in fireworks.
Pupils from Sullivan, Greylock and Brayton elementary schools visited Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts as part of Berkshire County Goes to College, an initiative of the Berkshire Compact for Higher Education designed to familiarize children with college opportunities.
Pupils from Adams and Clarksburg were at the college on Tuesday.
|Tags: chemistry, lab, Berkshire Compact|