The effort to bring the city's zoning up to date has been "very slow and very tedious," beginning several years ago with cleaning up language and sections in the ordinances and moving on to the latest update of aligning zones with property boundaries.
The City Council unanimously backed an effort to reduce the number of commercial solar arrays being installed in residential neighborhoods.
The Zoning Board of Appeals petitioned the council to adopt new rules guiding where solar arrays can be installed. The new ordinance breaks photovoltaic arrays into three sizes and guides the medium and large scale ones to commercial and industrial land.
The petition by the owners of the motel development and adjacent properties would take more than a half-dozen parcels purchased over the last several years and a section owned by the state's Division of Fisheries and Wildlife now in four different zones and consolidate them under one designation, CC-1.
Owners of the former textile mill, Karla Rothstein and Salvatore Perry, are in the midst of renovating the property. What is slated to be a $15 million project will include events, food production, restaurants, bar, and a hotel and 23 high-end condominiums.
The board made some final changes to the bylaw late last month and agreed that retailers can only locate in the downtown, or B-2 district, if they receive a special permit from the Planning Board. They can't be located closer than 250 feet from schools, day-care centers or other areas where minors commonly congregate and are the population primarily served by the facility.
The bylaws related to zoning, marijuana production and sales, and large-scale solar installations have been developed over the past 18 months with aid from the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission. The process was funded through a local technical assistance grant — part of the town's Community Compact — that runs out on Dec. 31.