Pittsfield Historical Commission Has Questions About Proposed Cell Tower

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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The commission also approved the demolition of a property on Curtis Street. 
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Historical Commission is leery of installing a wireless telecommunications tower on a historic Keeler Street mill.
The commissioners agreed Monday to draft a letter just to air their concerns about the proposed installation of a wireless telecommunications tower on the 20 Keeler St. campus.
"I think we as a commission should draft a letter indicating our concern about the historical integrity," Chairman John Dickson said.
Dickson said the mill is one of the 24 properties in their Endangered Property Case Book and is also surrounded by historic buildings — one that goes back to the 1800s.
City Planner CJ Hoss said as he understands it, a developer is working with the property owner to install the tower. He said the proposed tower would be just over 150 feet tall and that it is zoned industrial. 
Dickson, who lives in the same neighborhood, thought the tower would be visually jarring and could hinder future development.
"This is a concern having to look out my window and see an antenna that sticks 80 feet out above the tree line but from a historical standpoint this is an endangered property," he said. "There are things that could be done with it ... having an antenna on it will only make it more endangered ... it will be less likely to be reused." 
Hoss said the project still has to go before the Community Development Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals.
In other business, the commission approved the demolition of 37-39 Curtis St., which has fallen into disrepair and has been condemned. 
"This house is in pretty rough condition," Hoss said.
The property is currently owned by the bank that probably sees the dangerous building as a liability, he said.
The city did survey the neighborhood some years ago and even then the property had holes in the roof. Hoss said he was sure the condition has only worsened. 
Before closing, the commission appointed Dickson to the Community Preservation Committee. 

Tags: historical commission,   

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Pittsfield Superintendent Seeking New Opportunities

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Superintendent of Schools Jason "Jake" McCandless is actively seeking new opportunities and may leave the Pittsfield Public Schools. 
After McCandless' evaluation by the School Committee on Wednesday, he confirmed that he is a finalist for the superintendent's position of the Silver Lake Regional School District in Kingston, just north of Plymouth.
"It simply feels in my gut like it is a good time to make a change," McCandless said.
McCandless came to Pittsfield in 2013 after being in Lee for 11 years, eight of those as superintendent and three as principal. He came to Lee after three years as an assistant principal in Virginia. 
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