LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — At least some of the land the town bought more than a decade ago to service seniors could somewhat serve its intended purpose soon.
The town purchased 19 acres of land bordered by Prospect Street and North Main Street in 2007 with the intent to build a new senior center and senior housing units. Berkshire Housing Development headed efforts to craft plans for the senior housing aspect but the recession hit and the federal funds eyed for construction dried up. The property has sat for more than a decade.
Now, Laurel Ridge Senior Living Residence is looking to put at least some of it to use to help senior citizens. The independent living facility wants to buy a couple of those acres fronting North Main Street to expand.
"We're looking to purchase the adjacent property to Laurel Ridge, which is approximately two and a half acres," said Barbara Wirtes, of Laurel Ridge.
Laurel Ridge occupies a former hotel at 110 North Main St. but Wirtes said they're outgrowing the space for activities. The hope is to create a new area for various events and gatherings.
"What we want to do is have a multi-purpose area. Right now we were feel like we're being crowded," she said.
The town purchased the property for $225,000 and, in more recent years, the Board of Selectmen have been trying to unload the property. The most promising prospect came just two years ago when the town sought a solar developer and found Ameresco. The company was looking to use around 13 acres to develop a photovoltaic array. But ultimately that did not happen.
More recently, the Police Department has had its eye on the land looking to use a portion of it to build a new station. The plans for the senior housing facilities had included a conceptual police station. The Police Department, which is across the street from the property, has advocated for a new station there.
Multiple options are now being looked at for a station, which includes purchasing land at Laston Park or the former Vacation Village. The Selectmen are considering using proceeds from the sale of the North Main and Prospect Street parcels to help fund the station.
"One of the goals we had was to try to recoup the money we paid for it originally. The question is how much are they willing to invest in that," Selectman Robert Ericson said.
The land has frontage along Route 7, which is the easier access. Much of what is left, however, would be significantly landlocked. To access the property from Prospect Street, there are several streams and wetlands to be crossed, posing a significant challenge for redevelopment.
Wirtes suggested that Laurel buy a section of the parcel in order to continue to provide the town easy access to the rest of the buildable land.
But first, the Selectmen need permission to sell it. Town Manager Kelli Robbins already had a warrant article prepared for town meeting to do so and amended it to give the Selectmen the ability to divide the property for sale rather than selling it as a whole.
"We need permission from the town to sell any of it before we can go forward," Robbins said.
If town meeting approves any sale, that is when negotiations could begin. The town may not be creating what it had hoped on the land, nor is it the single big deal like the solar facility to bring income to the town, but Laurel Ridge at least poses some use of a least a portion of the property.
The Selectmen have been discussing real estate a lot recently with considerations about buying a gravel bed, land for a police station and potential senior center while weighing options to sell land the town currently owns.
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Representatives of solar developer Engie North America address the Planning Board on Monday night.
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Solar power was the topic of the evening at the Planning Board meeting on Monday night as the board extended permits for three large commercial solar operations.
Engie North America Inc. was seeking an extension to special permits previously issued for projects at 405 South Main St. (Skyline Country Club), 550 North Main St. (Pillar LLC), and land on Partridge Road owned by Petricca Development. The substantial use permit expired on Aug. 20 and the company is seeking an extension to the end of the year. The extension was made necessary by recent snags in obtaining the panels.
"We can get the panels, but in mid-June there was an exemption that was put in on bifacial (two-sided) solar panels to the tariffs that are being imposed on imported solar panels," said Matt Singer, project developer for Engie. "What that did was really turn the solar module market upside down. We were pretty far along with a supplier, ready to finalize a deal, then the market changed overnight and [the supplier] essentially backed out and we had to line up a new supplier. Which we did."
All the sites had minor issues that were addressed by Engie.
Engie North America Inc. was seeking an extension to special permits previously issued for projects at 405 South Main St. (Skyline Country Club), 550 North Main St. (Pillar LLC), and land on Partridge Road owned by Petricca Development. click for more
After pointing out that the board was meeting on National Dog Day, Animal Control Officer Jason Costa argued that excluding dogs from three town parks is unfair to the 470 registered dog owners in the town of about 3,000.
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The town is considering buying a new gravel bed on Ore Bed Road.
Town officials have been in talks with Dennis Condron about purchasing a piece of property across from the town's landfill. Selectman Henry "Hank" Sayers said the property has about 50,000 yards of gravel in the lot while the... click for more
The Board of Selectmen closed the fiscal year's books on Monday after transferring some $63,538 from health insurance to cover deficits elsewhere in the budget.
Of particular concern for Finance Committee member Ronald Tinkham was a $45,167 overage in winter roads supplies and repairs. The town,... click for more
Officer Jason Costa is often on patrol and stops and chats with children riding their bikes.
Costa rides mountain and road bikes all the time. His kids ride bikes. So he'd say, hey, let's all go for a ride together. On Saturday, that's going to happen. Costa, Lanesborough and Cheshire Police... click for more