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Hinds Chats Priorities With BRPC

The Berkshires don't have the traffic congestion or real estate prices that the Boston area does. And Jim Lovejoy, from Mount Washington, sees that as an opportunity. He envisions using the effort to expand broadband in Western Massachusetts as a chance to build a far superior internet connection that will incentivize companies to build and grow here instead.

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Five Years Later, 'Sustainable Berkshires' Plan Being Implemented

When it comes to local planning efforts, nothing was more ambitious than the Sustainable Berkshires master plan. The 800 or so page document was developed by stakeholders throughout the county as it looked to create a master plan for the entire county. After three years of work, Berkshire Regional Planning Commission adopted the full document in 2014.

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BRPC Looks to Kick Start Mountain Biking Project

BRPC is hoping to kick off an effort to bolster mountain biking in the area. Berkshire Regional Planning Commission is joining with two others Western Massachusetts planning organizations in a grant application to map, analyze, identify trail conditions, and lay the framework for a marketing effort to make Western Massachusetts known as a mountain biking hub.

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BRPC Raises Concerns With Removal of Tel-Electric Dam

BRPC officials would like the state to consider reusing dams for power more often. The comment comes from the organization's review of the removal of the Tel-Electric Dam on Mill Street. In that long-awaited project, the state did not require an alternative option of restoring the dam to generate power to be explored.

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Census Bureau Preparing For 2020 Count

A community has 675 billion reasons to make sure every resident is counted on the Census. The 2020 Census may still be a year and a half away but the bureau is already preparing for it. The effort is to count where every single person living in America puts their head down at night.

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BRPC Updating Regional Transportation Plan

RPC is revamping the regional transportation plan. The plan serves as the master guidance document for the Metropolitan Planning Organization's guidance of a number of federal transportation funds and Berkshire Regional Planning Commission's work.

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BRPC: Chapter 90 Spending Trails at Least a Year Behind

BRPC has found that towns tend to act conservatively with Chapter 90 funds for road work because of uncertainty around the program. Senior Transportation Planner Eammon Coughlin, of Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, had taken on a study on the use of Chapter 90 in the Berkshires and found that there is at least a year delay between when the state funds are allocated to the towns and when they are actually spent.

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Cheshire Looks at New Planning Projects

Thomas Matuszko of the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission reviewed six possible planning projects the town can use grant funds to commission BRPC to execute and the board agreed to prioritize reorganizing zoning in the southern Route 8 corridor.

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Matuszko Tapped As Next BRPC Executive Director

After 21 years with the organization, Thomas Matuszko is poised to become the next executive director of the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission. The commission chose Matuszko out of three finalists Thursday evening. The executive committee will now negotiate terms for employment with who could become just the organization's third executive director since the commission was formed in 1967.

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BRPC to Choose New Executive Director Next Week

A search committee conducted its interviews for the three finalists for the position on Thursday and Berkshire Regional Planning Commission will pick Nathaniel Karns' successor next week. Karns is retiring from the job after 23 years. He was just the second executive director since the commission was formed in 1967.

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BRPC Wants to Know How Towns Spend Chapter 90 Funds

One of the first things the governor did when taking office in 2014 was released an additional $100 million in money for cities and towns to repair the roads. But towns in the Berkshires didn't use it that spring. In fact, in total spending on Chapter 90 allocations dropped to the lowest spending level in the last five years. Baker's announcement had come halfway through the fiscal year and was hailed by local officials. The program is considered one of the most important for a city or town.

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Cheshire Walks Back Housing Grant

The Selectmen and some members of the Planning Board met with Thomas Matuszko of Berkshire Regional Planning Commission last Tuesday to settle a misunderstanding about a state housing grant BRPC was administering on behalf of the town that town leaders did not agree with.

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1Berkshire President Discusses Economic Development With BRPC

It would be difficult for a Berkshire town to recruit a large biotech company on its own. 1Berkshire President Jonathan Butler knows that because he was a town administration. Now his focus is on countywide efforts to build the Berkshire economy by heading the region's designated economic development agency and tourism council. What he would suggest to towns is to get all of the little things in place to seize an opportunity should it arise.

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Data Shows Serious Traffic Collisions On The Decline In The Berkshires

The county's rate of serious traffic accidents in the Berkshires is declining faster than the state average. Berkshire Regional Planning Commission Senior Transportation Planner Eammon Coughlin reported Tuesday projections that show a continual decline in the number of vehicle fatalities and serious injuries. Based on five-year rolling averages calculated each year, there has been a 17.27 percent decline in fatalities and a 15.57 percent decline in serious injuries since 2011.

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BRPC Launching Search For New Executive Director

BRPC's search for a new director will begin in earnest next month. Berkshire Regional Planning Commission Executive Director Nathaniel Karns is planning to retire in early 2018. A search committee has been formed to find who will become the agency's third executive director. Karns said he wants to retire no earlier than January 1 and no later than September 1, 2018, but is "pretty flexible" with what that date will be.

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BRPC Weighs in on State's Plan to Overhaul Land Use Regs

BRPC supports the state's push to overhaul land use regulations. But, the specifics in the bills from the House and Senate have raised some concern. For months, Berkshire Regional Planning Commission's regional issues committee has been pouring over the details of the massive omnibus bills. Two bills are going through the legislative process now - one from the House and one from the Senate - with similar changes to zoning and other land use regulations.

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