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The commission reluctantly approved the demolition of 748 Tyler St. The owner says the structure has been empty for some time and no one has evinced interest in it.
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Also approved for demolition was 111 West Housatonic St. The owner says the second floor is uninhabitable and the plan is to construct a new commercial building.

AT&T Withdraws Keeler Street Cell Tower Plans in Pittsfield

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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The Historic Commission approved the demolition of 11-13 Kellogg St. that was heavily damaged by fire earlier this year. 
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — AT&T has backed out of plans to install a cellular tower near the Keeler Street mill.
 
City Planner CJ Hoss told the Historical Commission on Monday that the telecommunications company withdrew the application to install the 150-foot tower on the historic mill's campus.
 
"Based on the comments from the residents, the comments from the [Zoning Board of Appeals], and our consultants, they decided to step back and re-evaluate," Hoss said during the meeting broadcast on Pittsfield Community Television. "Maybe they will come back back but right now they are withdrawing the project."
 
The proposal came before the commission in September and with concerns about the negative effect the tower could have on the mill that dates back to the 1800s, the commissioners drafted a letter to the Massachusetts Historic Commission.
 
The project also went before the Community Development Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals, which both noted the tower was too high and went beyond the city's 115-foot limit. 
 
Residents also voiced their concerns and felt the tower would compromise vantage points throughout the area.
 
Hoss noted that the city's consultant who reviewed the application also questioned the need for the tower and the need for such a tall tower.
 
"They said there really should be more details about the tower and why it needs to be there," he said.
 
In other business, the commission approved the demolition of three properties that although historic have deteriorated beyond repair.
 
The commission first reviewed 11-13 Kellogg St., that had been discussed at a prior meeting. They asked for more information because the exterior of the house appeared to be in good shape.
 
Tim Burke of Mill Town Capital, the property owner, said there was a fire in the building earlier this year and provided the commission with some interior photos.
 
"The pictures that were sent over were much better proof than what we had," Commissioner Maxine Bookless said. "Before we could only see the outside so seeing the inside and the structural damage gives us a better idea ... it is in pretty bad shape."
 
Next the commission reviewed 748 Tyler St. and was hesitant to allow the demolition of the brick storefront. 
 
"I had driven down Tyler street and I looked at that building and I thought it was a beautiful building before I even got this so," Dickson said. "So I am torn."
 
Mill Town Capital also owns this building and Burke said the building is long abandoned and there is moisture and water damage inside the property.
 
He added there are also structural concerns.
 
"There is significant masonry deterioration and it is really a liability for the neighborhood from a pedestrian stand point," he said. 
 
He added there have been no inquiries on the building
 
"We own quite a bit of property and in a year and a half, we have not received one inquiry on this building as to commercial interest, a restaurant, or retail," he said. "There has not been a single person with a concept or an idea."
 
Burke said he only received questions about the stained glass sign will be retained and reused in some fashion.
 
Hoss said the property is a stone's throw from the under construction St. Mary's apartments and that there is much development in the mixed-use area. He said the property really only retracts from this.
 
"I think from the planning perspective, the first reaction is it is a first-floor storefront that would be a loss," he said. "But with the market place it would be great to keep but at what cost to keep a vacant commercial space?" 
 
The commissioners asked Burke if they could somehow reuse the facade in a new structure but Burke said this would be a complex project that would likely be too expensive to make a profit on. 
 
The commission then looked at 111 West Housatonic St. that Dickson said was built in the 1800s. He said the automotive garage was added to the building after World War II when the owner's son returned from the war and started a business.
 
He said the first floor was gutted and the second floor was used as apartments. He said currently no one lives in the structure and the apartments are unlivable.
 
"The owner said it is a wreck and has been vacant for years ... it has just been neglected," he said. "They want to put another retail building there." 

Tags: cell tower,   demolition,   historic buildings,   historical commission,   

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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."
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