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.
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Pittsfield Native Killed In Air Force Crash
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The body of Staff Sgt. Jacob Galliher was recovered off the coast of Japan after the military aircraft he was on crashed Wednesday.
The Pittsfield Police Department released a statement noting that Galliher was a 2017 graduate of Taconic High School.
The statement included that Galliher leaves behind his wife and 2-year-old and 6-week-old sons.
The Associated Press reported that on Nov. 29, an Air Force Osprey based in Japan crashed during a training mission off the country's southern coast. It was reported that the crash killed at least one of the eight crew members.
At this time, the status of the seven other airmen is unknown. The cause of the crash is also unknown.
Taconic High School Principal Matthew Bishop said the school is in mourning after learning of Galliher's death.
"Jake was a proud member of the Class of 2017 and was known for his exemplary character, leadership qualities, and commitment to Taconic High School. He was an outstanding student, an integral member of our football program, and an active participant in our school community. Many staff members remember his kind, fun-loving spirit and how much he positively impacted our school," he wrote in a statement released Friday afternoon. "After graduation, Jake chose to serve our country with valor and dedication, joining the Air Force. The news of his tragic and untimely passing has left Taconic in mourning, as we reflect on the loss of a bright and promising individual who embodied the values that we hope to instill in all of our students."
There are a variety of holiday-themed events this weekend to get yourself into the festive spirit including tree lightings, live music, a brunch, and more. Find a full list of holiday bazaars and fairs here; upcoming holiday events can be found here.
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The City Council on Tuesday tackled petitions on two properties that Councilor at Large Councilor Karen Kalinowsky sees as a health hazard: an abandoned office building on Merrill Road and a "junkyard" of cars on Shaker Lane. click for more
Ward 1 Councilor Kenneth Warren, Ward 2 Councilor Charles Kronick and at-Large Councilor Karen Kalinowsky spoke against the proposal that would increase the average homeowner's bill by 8.75 percent.
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