PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Community Development Board has approved the development of new multifamily housing on Tyler Street.
The board acted upon an application from Mill Town Capitol to construct 20 residential units near Forest Place.
"The existing site is a haphazard mix of parking and buildings," Darren Harris of Hill Engineers told the board on Tuesday. "There are crazy access points, there is not much vegetation and there is weird parking."
The site is about an acre and the applicant would like to demolish four of the buildings. Harris said some of the buildings have already been demolished.
Harris said this will make way for the construction of two new buildings: a 16-unit building and a four-unit building.
There are two existing buildings in the development that are already occupied. No major changes will be made to these units and they will remain occupied.
Harris said they would like to clean up the access points and have a main entrance and exit on Forest Place and a one-way entrance on Tyler Street.
He said the Fire Department has signed off on these access points.
Parking will be on-site for new buildings and existing buildings and the property will provide parking for another building outside of the project as well
"It adds up to 42 spaces on-site and gets it all off-street parking," Harris said. "We want to make it look nicer and add some pavers along the edge of the parking lot so you won't see a sea of blacktop."
The buildings to be demolished are considered historic and therefore need to go before the Historical Commission. City Planner CJ Hoss said one of the buildings has already gone before the commission and has been demolished.
The board received one call from resident Kamaar Taliafero, who asked if any of the units would be affordable housing for low, very low-income, or extremely low-income households.
"I am a lifelong resident of Pittsfield and growing up my family would have been between very low and very low income," he said. "So for a family making $21,000 spending 30 percent of that on rent, I want the board to know what that means."
He also asked if there was a study on how these new units will affect rent in the neighborhood.
"I am not against this but by approving this what message are you sending," he said. "It certainly isn't 'you belong here.'"
The board typically does not respond during public comment but Hoss did say there is both a need for market-rate and affordable housing in the city.
"We recognize the need for affordable units as well as the need market-rate units," Hoss said. "We need diverse housing choices ... we need all types of housing in Morningside, downtown and across the city."
He said this is a focus of the Community Development Department and that there is also need to find ways to spark investment and development.
"I think overall we are aware of this and it is a known," he said. "It is something our department is working on."
In other business, the board approved another redevelopment housing project on East Street.
AM Management LLC plans to develop 27 housing units in the former Reigning Love Church across from Pittsfield High School. It abuts the post office on East Street. The units will range from one to three bedrooms over three floors. Parking spots will be off the driveway that goes around the property and permits would be available in the public parking lot on the west side of the property. The building will have a laundry and storage areas and landscaping and benches in the front.
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Pittsfield City Council to Discuss Homeless Solutions
By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City Council on Tuesday sent a group of petitions regarding the city's homeless population to the subcommittee on Public Health and Safety.
The three petitions ask officials to consider measures to safeguard the homeless and begin a conversation about homelessness within the city limits.
"I am glad we are having this discussion, and I look forward to hearing it," Councilor at Large Peter White said. "This has been an issue here for a long time and having people live in the park is not a long terms solution."
Late into the six-hour meeting Tuesday, councilors came to the agreement that although Connell is spending much of his time quarantining out of state, his primary residence is still in Pittsfield.
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