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Taco Bell in Berkshire Crossing is planning to move to a new building on Dalton Avenue; Chipotle plans on taking over the old location.

Chipotle Plans Takeover of Pittsfield Taco Bell Location

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
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The new Taco Bell across from Berkshire Crossing is under construction.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A new restaurant chain is planning to open in Berkshire Crossing.
Chipotle Mexican Grill filed a notice of intent with the Conservation Commission for the proposed redevelopment of the existing Taco Bell.
The site plan came in front of the commission Thursday because the restaurant is located within a riverfront area of the the East Branch of the Housatonic River.
Taco Bell and Chipotle will be neighbors, as the commission signed off on the construction of a new Taco Bell across the street on Dalton Avenue last year that is expected to open in late 2021.
Design consultant Karlis Skulte of Civil and Environmental Consultants Inc. said the site will remain "relatively unchanged" with aesthetic changes but no alternation in square footage. They are proposing some infrastructure improvements.
The eatery plans to repave a portion of the parking lot that is in rough shape, add and rebuild sidewalks on the property, and install additional landscaping.
The original design had additional patio space in the rear of the building but was eliminated.
"Chipotle doesn't really work well with a pull up to the window on the window and order type of approach," Skulte explained.
"So they're proposing to use this as essentially a mobile application when you call-in your order, and they're going to be able to use the drive-through as a means to pick it up without having to get out of your car so it's a little bit different approach."  
Commissioner Jonathan Lothrop expressed that he would like to see additional stormwater management measures taken on the site and Conservation Agent Robert Van Der Kar suggested that the applicant considers all native shrubbery in the front landscaping.
The project was approved and commissioners said Chipotle's proposal will likely go in front of the Community Development Board and/or the City Council before its final approval.
In other news, the commission decided that the Springside Park pump track proposal's location is not within a wetland resource or buffer zone. They made a negative determination in response to a request for determination of applicability (RDA) associated with two areas of land within the property located at Springside Park.
The proposal, which includes a pump track and bike skills park for public use, has sparked debate between opposers and supporters. Those in opposition attended Thursday's meeting to share their sentiments, citing concerns of negative environmental effects from the track.
Last month, the Parks Commission recommended that the project leaders, the Berkshire Chapter of the New England Mountain Biking Association, file an RDA to be reviewed by the Conservation Commission to ensure the track would not be within a wetlands buffer zone.
The Conservation Commission then tabled the RDA because of confusion related to the two possible locations — a northern and southern site — for the pump track and requested clarification from the applicants before voting.
If it is not within the 100-foot buffer zone, that takes it out of the Conversation Commission's jurisdiction, but the Parks Commission wanted to verify the plan would not have detrimental environmental effects on the surrounding landscape.
Parks Commission Chairman Anthony DeMartino attended Thursday's meeting to confirm the proposed location of the park in the southern region of the site where a Little League field once stood.
This was requested by the Parks Commission when concern arose with the originally proposed Northern site.
Conservation Agent Robert Van Der Kar said he went to the site twice to verify that the proposal is not within 100 feet of the buffer zone.

Tags: conservation commission,   mexican food,   restaurant chain,   restaurants,   

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Lanesborough Tax Bills to Rise From Increased Property Values

By Brian RhodesiBerkshires Staff

LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Due to increased value of properties in town, the tax bill for the average property owner is expected to increase by 6.45 percent in fiscal 2023.

The Select Board unanimously voted Monday to maintain a single tax rate for the town, estimated to be $17.67 per $1,000 of assessed value, a $1.43 decrease from FY2022. But the average tax bill will rise by $322 to $5,313, compared to $4,991 in FY2022.

"[The tax rate] is down again this year for the second year in a row," said Town Assessor Ross Vivori. "And a lot of that is because of the growth that we've had and the real estate market that's driving those values up and pushing that tax rate down."

The value of an average single-family home increased to $300,705, up by $39,405 compared to the average value last year. The total town value grew 14.6 percent to $508,755,124, an increase of just over $55 million from last year.

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