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Representatives for Berkshire Kind go over plans for the company's marijuana cultivation facility at Tuesday's Community Development Board meeting.

Pittsfield Approves Industrial Park Pot Cultivator's Site Plan

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Community Development Board approved a site plan from Berkshire Kind, which plans to cultivate marijuana in the William Stanley Business Park.
The board was happy Tuesday with some of the changes Berkshire Kind made to its proposed 20,000 square foot indoor cultivation building and blessed the site plan.
"This is a big step forward because in the beginning it looked like a big garage," Chairwoman Sheila Irvin said. "We look forward to a little more detail."
Brothers Philip and Jeremy Silverman, owners of Berkshire Kind, executed an agreement with the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority (PEDA) in the fall of 2019. They plan to occupy site 4 in the park, right across the street from the Berkshire Innovation Center.
The brothers plan to invest $2.8 million to $2.9 million in the 1.5 acre site that would accommodate 5,000 to 6,000 square feet of canopy in the 20,000 square-foot building that would double in later phases of the project.
The design that Darrin Harris of Hill Engineering presented to the board was altered from the original to make the building look less boxy.
"We submitted some plans and we got some feedback so we dressed up the building a little bit," Harris said. "We will say the site is very difficult to see ... but it was still a pretty plain building."
Harris said false windows, brick, and canopies were added.
The board felt the changes were a huge improvement.
There was some discussion over the color of the building with board members advocating for a darker tone that would help the building blend in — perhaps matching the Berkshire Innovation Center.
"It is much better than what was in the plan," board member Elizabeth Herland said. "It is a long building and I understand a lot won't be visible but you still will be able to see it. When you drive north on Woodlawn [Avenue] you are going to see this big long building."
Jeremy Silverman, who plans to move to the area to oversee the business, said they are willing to use any color the city wants as long as it complies with the William Stanley Park standards.
"We are open to whatever," he said. "Color to us is irrelevant."
Other than the aesthetics, Harris said they meet all other zoning standards and have met with the building department and Fire Department. Hill Engineer Jeff Randall added that there will be 12 parking spaces and the parking lot and facility entrance will be relined and cleaned up. 
"We will do it because it is kind of all over the place with all of these lines that don't go anywhere," he said. 

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Berkshire Regional Planning Commission Responds to COVID-19 Crisis

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- No one could have foreseen the exact nature or timing of a global pandemic, but some of the infrastructure put in place by the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission has helped area communities deal with the COVID-19 crisis.
On Thursday, BRPC Executive Director Tom Matuszko told the agency's executive committee that one of its initiatives was able to quickly pivot to addressing the fallout from the novel coronavirus.
"Through the Berkshire Public Health Alliance, in tandem with Tri-Town Health, local public health in the Berkshires were in a strong position to immediately respond," Matuszko wrote in his report to the board.
In the committee meeting that followed, Matuszko elaborated on some of the efforts that the commission's staff have undertaken since the crisis began.
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