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Michael Petrin of VHB presents the site plans for the outdoor center at the Greylock Glen on Monday to the Planning Board.
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Adams Planning Board OKs Site Plan for Greylock Glen Outdoor Center

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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The outdoor center will include exhibition space, classrooms, a restaurant and welcome lobby.

ADAMS, Mass. — The site plans for the new outdoor center at the Greylock Glen was given the stamp of approval on Monday — nearly a decade after the project was first endorsed by the Planning Board.

"I don't know if the board members recall but in July of 2012, this board reviewed the proposed Greylock Glen project and you issued us a special permit under the planned unit resort development," said Donna Cesan, the town's special projects coordinator. "At the time in issuing and approving that special permit, you stated that if after 10 years no development has been initiated, the special permit shall expire.

"So I'm particularly pleased that where we are within that time, bringing the Outdoor Center Project site plan approval to you tonight."

Long-gestating project appears to finally coming to fruition, thanks in large part to the release of $6.5 million in state funding for its construction earlier this year.
The 9,200-square foot outdoor center, envisioned as a multi-use structure with a 75-seat restaurant, exhibit space and classrooms, was designed by Maclay Architects. 
Michael Petrin, project manager with Vanasse Hangen Brustlin Inc., led the board through the stormwater, parking and utility plans for the building.
The center will be located off Gould Road and will include an outdoor patio, paved entrances and 64 parking spaces. 
"We have provided a loop around as well the drop-off for buses but also fire apparatus," Petrin said. "We have a stabilized gravel pull-off area, as well as concrete pavers for the walkways.
For stormwater management, there will be swales detention basins around the site, he said. "Our discharge locations are going to be within resource area or buffer zone, that will be jurisdictional under the Conservation Commission. So they will need to approve it."
There were some concerns raised about maintenance of the natural basins but Cesan said these would be maintained by the town just as it maintains parks and other town facilities.
Water and water for fire suppression will come in from Gould Road and sewer will follow the same route. One change in the plans presented to the board was the elimination of a standalone pumphouse for the fire protection line. That was not considered feasible, so it is now attached to the building with a separate water line going in.
Cesan reminded the board that the town has entered an agreement with the Water District to analyze and construct the water system. 
Electric lines will be brought in underground as well. Petrin said EV charging stations would eventually be installed.
The board members asked about solar plans and Cesan responded that solar is not part of this phase but is being considered for the future. 
"We're investigating that currently, but because of the roofline of the building is so varied it was determined it was impractical to put solar panels on the roof," she said. "We are looking at solar carports ... we'd like to do at least one or two of those as a demonstration, but we're also talking about off-site, provision of solar that would serviced this facility."
The sign-off marks a significant move in finally developing the Greylock Glen. The town was made the developer after a number of other projects fell through over the decades but has struggled to realize a vision first laid out in 2009. 
Not that there hasn't been progress: 19 miles of trails have been completed, water and septic lines were extended to Gould Road and the roundabout at Friend and Columbia streets was designed to aid the anticipated increase in traffic. 
Future work envisions an amphitheater, campgrounds, and a lodge on the 60-acre parcel of the Mount Greylock State Reservation.


Tags: Greylock Glen,   

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Pittsfield Council Rejects Petition Against Magnesium Chloride

By Brittany Polito


The City Council on Tuesday shot down Ward 2 Councilor Charles Kronick’s attempt to block possible purchases of magnesium chloride in response to the poor road conditions during the pre-Christmas storm

Kronick said that there were two major mistakes made in the city’s response to Storm Elliot: not pre-treating the roads with rock salt or putting out an emergency alert about the situation. 


On the agenda was also a petition from Councilor At Large Earl Persip III requesting a cost-benefit analysis of obtaining the equipment necessary to use magnesium chloride, which is effectively used by the state to pre-treat roads for snow.  


It will be taken up at a later date along with a full report on the storm from Commissioner of Public Services and Utilities Ricardo Morales. 


Kronick feels that magnesium chloride would have “done nothing” to change the outcome of the snow event and saw it as an attempt to hide a mistake. 


“The counselors are proposing to raise your taxes people with a new budget request for purchasing equipment and salt. They are not requesting a cost analysis, cost-benefit analysis, not even verification that the rock salt would have been effective that day and we won't even know because they didn't try but the evidence says that it would have worked,” Kronick said. 


“So the purpose of their request to purchase equipment is to cover the trail of the Mayor’s embarrassment for not one: pre-treating the roads and tow: issuing an emergency alert to let the public know that the roads are unsafe to drive on.” 


Though roads are usually pre-treated with rock salt, it was not done during this storm because the rain that came before the snow would have washed it away, Morales told iBerkshires after the storm. 


Up until this storm, the city couldn’t justify the acquisition of magnesium chloride or the material to dispense it. 


Councilors were equally appalled at the road conditions but felt the petition was premature and even inflammatory.  


It wound up being filed after failed motions to table and approve.  Ward 3 Councilor Kevin Sherman, Ward 5 Councilor Patrick Kavey, and Ward 7 Councilor Anthony Maffuccio were absent. 


“We all are appalled, disappointed in what happened here,” Ward 4 Councilor James Conant said. 


“There’s no question that public confidence in this operation is at an all-time low and so I think another couple of weeks, make the report, let’s hear what’s produced out of this event, then we can revisit.” 


Persip explained that he petitioned to inquire about the chemical and get the cost of it, branding it as information that the council should know when they discuss what happened during the storm. 


“I am too appalled at the response.  I can agree that there should have been a snow emergency, there should have been a phone call, we agree on those things,” he said. 


“But to accuse us of raising taxes at this meeting right after the tax bill comes out I find interesting, and then not wanting all the information.” 


He added that Kronick’s talk about his petition not being “political posturing” was nonsense. 


Since the fiscal 2023 budget has already been approved, Persip asked the councilor where he does not want to see allocation for magnesium chloride appear and Kronick clarified that he doesn’t want it on the fiscal 2024 budget. 


Councilor At Large Pete White said that the council’s job s to look at every issue as it comes before them and that the request is for information only. 


“I will not support this or petitions like this to just blank and say we’re not going to fund things because we didn’t like what happened without actually seeing data and facts before us,” he added. 


Warren called the petition a “fool’s errand.” 


“The fact of the matter was, (Persip) wants more information to help make a proper decision,” he said. 


“That’s what I want so I’m not going to make any decision about buying not buying equipment, not buying other materials until we get a report.” 


Ward 6 Councilor Dina Lampiasi pointed to Kronick’s presentation of graphs showing the weather conditions during the storm and called the approach “dishonest” and a “misrepresentation.”  During the event, she compared the conditions outside to the weather app on her phone and found them contradictory. 


Councilor At Large Karen Kalinowsky said the petition was not clarified enough. 


A handful of people expressed displeasure with the way that the snowstorm was handled and rising taxes during open microphone. 


Kronick took the stand and read a communication from a longtime Massachusetts Department of Transportation employee who he would not name. 


The letter expressed concern about the Department of Public Work’s leadership and claimed that salt is the best option for safe road conditions —even when there is rain before the snow. 


Persip observed that when people complain about their taxes being raised, the bigger complaint is that things aren’t getting done. 


He heard more complaints about the storm than about the tax bills. 


“It's not just about the dollars and cents all the time,” Persip said. 


“It's about finding solutions where people feel safe, they can go out for the first time, it's the holiday when people are actually visiting their families and it was unsafe.”


Also on the agenda was a petition from Council President Peter Marchetti, White, and Persip requesting a full report on the issue that resulted in poor plowing conditions over the holiday weekend, which will be taken up at a later date. 


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