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The Board of Selectmen agree to look closer at the gravel bed.

Lanesborough Selectmen in Talks to Buy New Gravel Bed

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
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Highway Director William Decelles is honored for 35 years of service.
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — 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 town's current landfill is nearly empty. 
 
Selectmen did not disclose the price, saying it changes while in talks with Condron, but the purchase hits on multiple fronts — it saves the town from having to purchase as much gravel for roads, it prevents someone from buying and building on the land that  has potential for contamination, and eventually can be turned into a small park or walking trails.
 
"We are also trying to get it off the books so nobody can build on it," Chairman John Goerlach said.
 
Previously, a number of private wells in the area were found to be contaminated and it is suspected that it came from the landfill. The town has to provide water filters and had to continually test the wells at those homes. Eventually, the town installed a new water line on Ore Bed Road to alleviate the need for as much testing. 
 
The state Department of Environmental Protection has concerns about building on the land being considered but has determined that it is "technically not contaminated and can be used for gravel," said Town Manager Kelli Robbins.
 
Meanwhile, the current gravel bed is running low. Goerlach said he's been wanting to do something different with that piece of land for years — and has frequently mentioned the purchase of the new gravel bed.
 
The town could create walking trails at the current bed or simply sell it for a developer to build on — the land of the current gravel bed does not have contamination concerns. 
 
Sayers wants Highway Department Director William Decelles to see the gravel in the new bed to ensure it is something he can use. The hope is for at least some time, the town could save money on buying gravel.
 
"Right now we are buying quite a bit," Decelles said.
 
In other business, the Board of Selectmen is in opposition to the turf field proposal at Mount Greylock Regional School. Mount Greylock officials are looking to build new sports fields at the middle and high school through a Williams College gift. But opponents are worried about health concerns with artificial turf. 
 

P.J. Pannesco is honored for 50 years on the Fire Department.
Goerlach suggested the opposition saying he trusts the expertise of resident and landscaper Ray Jones that grass is a better option. Goerlach said grass not only doesn't have health concerns but can be done well at a lower cost.
 
"I'm going to side with Ray, the professional he is when it comes with grass, that we send a letter to the board asking that they consider other options," Goerlach said.
 
The Selectmen approved sending a letter to Mount Greylock officials voicing their opposition. 
 
Also in other business, the state rejected the town's Complete Streets grant application that was hoped to fund improvements on Summer Street. Robbins, however, said Berkshire Regional Planning Commission Planner Eammon Coughlin has agreed to rework the application and resubmit it in the fall for free.
 
"They had a tremendous amount of applicants for millions of millions of dollars and they couldn't give everybody some money," Robbins said.
 
The board also recognized P.J. Pannesco for 50 years of service on the volunteer Fire Department and Decelles for 35 years in the Highway Department.

Tags: gravel bed,   recognition event,   turf field,   

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Lanesborough Planning Board Extends Solar Permits

By Jeff SnoonianiBerkshires Correspondent

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.
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