ADAMS, Mass. — The Zoning Board of Appeals continued its public hearing with Cumberland Farms to next month but still heard from some concerned residents.
After receiving a letter from Cumberland Farms asking to reschedule the hearing, the ZBA voted Tuesday to reschedule for June 7 and used the rest of the meeting to answer questions from the nearly 20 residents that attended the meeting.
"I know that you are feeling stressed and you are feeling like you are being railroaded but the truth is these things take time and your voices will be heard," board member Francie Anne Riley said. "Nothing will be decided tonight, and we don't even have the materials."
Cumberland Farms wants to build a gas station and convenience store at 95 Commercial St. The facility would sit on three parcels one of which contains Al's Service Center.
Acting Chairman Brian Tenczar said the letter stated that Cumberland Farms asked for more time to prepare its plans further and board member Glendon Diehl added that company representatives did come before the Selectmen with plans.
"What they had at the select board meeting was pretty thorough … and they are working to make it more complete," Diehl said.
The members of the crowd began listing off their concerns, some having to do with the layout, lighting and other physical attributes proposed in the plan but Tenczar cut them short noting that the ZBA has no say on those matters.
"We are going to discuss these three things and nothing outside of these three topics because it is not relevant to us. We can only pass judgment on zoning laws," he said. "I think we are getting a little ahead of the ball here; they are not here to present themselves."
Cumberland Farms is asking for three variances: one to demolish three structures at 95 Commercial St. and redevelop the land, one to allow two curb cuts, and one to allow the store to be opened 24 hours in an R-4 zoning district.
This was a concern of some of the attendees who did not think it was appropriate to have a business operating 24 hours in a residential zone.
Riley said the board will take in residents' input but at the moment members don't have complete plans themselves.
"You will have a say, we will listen and take into consideration your thoughts and feelings," she said. "They have a right to ask for these variances in order to open a business in a place where a business already is and there are a lot of things we need to discuss."
She added that they can place conditions on their decisions and noted in the past they were able to compromise with businesses in a residential zone.
"We walked the property, took input from residents and in a meeting, we discussed it and made some changes that made everybody happy," she said. "This is not something we just say yes to."
There was also a concern that the upcoming meeting would give Cumberland Farms the go-ahead but Building Inspector Don Torrico said the company would still have to go before the Conservation Commission and the Planning Board for a site review. He added that the Planning Board meeting would be a good place to discuss concerns with the actual design.
The Zoning Board of Appeals did say it would provide anyone interested with Cumberland Farms' application as well as set up a map of the proposed project in Town Hall, so abutters and residents can receive all of the information they are looking for.
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City Council Asks Mayor Tyer for 75K to Assist the Homeless
By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City Council is pushing for Mayor Linda Tyer to set aside $75,000 from free cash to assist the homeless in acquiring temporary or permanent housing.
The petition asking for this amount from Councilors Chris Connell, Kevin Morandi, Patrick Kavey, and Chairman of the Homelessness Prevention Commission Edward Carmel was referred to Mayor Linda Tyer at last week's council meeting.
Kavey, of Ward 5, said this request was a starting point to discuss how much in funds would be allocated to them.
"I don't think that what happened in the spring was great with the shelter closing, and people living in a park doesn't work," Kavey said. "I'm just looking to make sure that doesn't happen again."
The temporary shelter set up at the former St. Joseph's School to comply with pandemic restrictions was closed in July, leading to many of the shelter's occupants camping in Springside Park.
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Mayor Linda Tyer pitched this program back in 2019 to help eligible residents improve their homes. This program would provide zero-interest loans to residents for undertaking certain home improvement projects in an effort to improve the housing stock in the city.
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Mayor Linda Tyer this week said the city of Pittsfield is feeling discouraged from the lack of community organizations willing to host a warming shelter that will house homeless individuals during the hours that the St. Joseph's temporary winter shelter on Maplewood Avenue is closed. click for more
This has been a long-standing tradition between the sheriff's office and the Christian Center. For the last decade, staff and inmates at the Berkshire County House of Corrections have prepared Thanksgiving meals for hundreds of people at the center under the guidance of Food Service Director... click for more