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Matt Keator, Lori Gazzillo, Mike Ferry, Michael DeLeo, Charlie O'Brien, state Rep. William 'Smitty' Pignatelli, and Eugene Dellea.

Pete Townshend Helps Raise $18K for Hillcrest Cancer Center

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
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Dr. Michael DeLeo accepted the check from state Rep. Smitty Pignatelli.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Last month before Pete Townshend hit the stage at Tanglewood to perform "Quadrophenia," he held a small fundraiser at Highwood Manor House on the campus.
The group had dinner with the Who singer, Billy Idol, and Alfie Boe. The money was to be donated to Townshend's Teen Cancer America Foundation and the Hillcrest Cancer Center at Berkshire Medical Center.
"He wanted no more than 30 people. It was a small, intimate group. He talked to everyone. We all got commemorative autographed posters. We had dinner together," Pignatelli said.
Together the group raised $18,000, which was to be split between the two organizations. But on Monday, state Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli, who helped organize the fundraiser, announced that Townshend opted to donate his half to the Hillcrest Cancer Center.
"What is special about this check of $18,000 is that we thought we'd be splitting $18,000 with Pete Townshend's organization. Pete Townshend after the performance said 'you guys treated me so well, I loved the people you brought to this reception, I'm willing to forego my Teen Cancer Fund and give it all to the folks in the Berkshires,'" Pignatelli said. 
Pignatelli presented that check to Dr. Michael DeLeo on Monday afternoon. 
The Lenox representative said the management team of Townshend contacted Allyce Najimy, of Foundation To Be Named Later, about doing something. She then contacted Pignatelli, who agreed to help but only if some of the money would stay in the Berkshires. Townshend agreed to split the money.
Pignatelli then rallied his friends.
He first called Charlie O'Brien from Adams Community Bank. O'Brien couldn't make the concert, but purchased tickets anyway and sent a team of employees. Lori Gazzillo, from Berkshire Bank, couldn't make it either. But Senior Vice President Mike Ferry happened to be a big fan of the Who, so he took the ticket. Matt Keator from the Keator Group and officials from Walmart joined in. 
Keator said it was easy for him to get involved because it was a "worthwhile cause." Gazzillo echoed the same sentiment. 
President of the Hillcrest Campus Eugene Dellea said he was grateful that when the opportunity presented itself, Pignatelli thought about helping the campus. 

Tags: cancer center,   cancer support,   celebrity,   fundraiser,   Tanglewood,   

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Letter: Problematic Proposed Lenox Short-Term Rental Bylaw

Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

Under the proposed short-term rental Lenox bylaw, "up to two bedrooms in a dwelling unit may be rented year-round by right provided that the owner or tenant is occupying the dwelling unit at the time of the rental."

Presumably, bedrooms may not be rented at all if the owner or tenant is not occupying the dwelling unit.

In other words, literally, the very same use is allowed by one type of owner (an owner occupying the dwelling unit), but not another type of owner (one who does not occupy the dwelling unit where bedrooms are being rented). Because there is identical use and intensity and the only thing that differs is the type of owner or renter; it is hard to view this as mere regulation of use and not ownership.

The other provision suffers from the same problem. Suppose there is a duplex or land with two houses on it (perhaps an old robber-baron estate) but with separate owners for each dwelling unit. Under the rule regarding "dwelling units being rented in their entirety," "an entire dwelling unit maybe rented up to 75 days per calendar year by right," and "an entire dwelling unit may be rented for an additional 35 days (up to 110 days) per calendar year by Special Permit."

But then suppose there is unity of ownership and one person owns the entire duplex or both houses. In that case, "the above totals apply to the entire parcel" and "the day limits defined above shall be apportioned among those dwelling units."

A town can regulate the number of days a short-term rental may be utilized under the newly passed statute: but this additional restriction based on who owns the premises is a regulation of ownership and not use.

The same is instinct through other parts as well. Of course, Lenox residents or their guest can park in the street. But if you are renting a short-term rental, "All overnight parking must be within the property's driveway or garage." If you own or rent property, so long as you get the right permits, you may entertain on your property. But if you are a short-term renter, "events that include tents or amplified music or which would customarily require a license or permit are not allowed."

Since 1905, when Home Rules was put into the [Massachusetts] Constitution, towns could pass their own bylaws, so long as there was no regulation of a civil relationship unless it was an incident to a legitimate municipal power. This meant, among other things, zoning laws had to regulate use and not ownership. It is now a fundamental principle of Massachusetts zoning that it deals basically with the use, without regard to the ownership of the property involved, or who may be the operator of the use. This bylaw appears to violate this fundamental tenet.

By way of example of the you-may-regulate-use-but-not-ownership rule, it has been held that a city did not have authority under the Massachusetts Constitution to pass an ordinance that affected the civil relationship between tenants and their landlord, who wished to convert their rental units to condominiums. In another case, a municipal ordinance which restricted a landlord's ability to terminate a lease and remove his property from the rental market in order to sell it was invalid.

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