Pittsfield Community Development Has Light Agenda for First 2023 Meeting

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — At its first meeting of the year, the Community Development Board last week determined that subdivision approval is not required for an East Street car dealership and welcomed the city's new planner.

The Johnson family, which owns Johnson Ford at 694 East St. and 720 East St., want to divide the property to have its buildings on separate lots.

"The property is located on the southerly side of a street and is approximately 186 feet west of Lyman Street," said James Seidl of SK Design Group.

"The property currently has two buildings on a single lot and this plan facilitates the creation of lot one around the building that is the pre-owned dealership building, so that we can have a building on its own lot. That is the goal of this submission."

Without any questions, the board voted that subdivision approval is not required.

Jacinta Williams was welcomed as the new city planner, a post that was vacated by CJ Hoss late last year when he began working for the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission.

Community Development & Housing Program Manager Nate Joyner said there are a couple of projects that will be put forward to the board relatively soon, including an update to the city's parking table and design guidelines for the Downtown Creative District.

"We've received the design guidelines for the Downtown Creative District and we want to present those to the board and have the board adopt them once you're ready," Joyner explained. "So we will present those to the board in April I believe."

The creative district, established in 2021, replaces the Downtown Arts Overlay District adopted in 2004 and the more traditional historic zoning districts that are within the downtown area. It aims to highlight the historical design elements of downtown Pittsfield and encourages a mixture of uses to drive creatives and foot traffic to the area.

The ordinance's development began in 2018 and was guided by a steering committee that consisted of a range of downtown stakeholders, property owners, business owners, and downtown building real estate representatives.

Last year, the city received more than $40,000 to expand the concept of the Downtown Creative District in the West Side and Morningside neighborhoods. The aim was to alleviate barriers caused by zoning and modernize the city's ordinance.

The $41,250 grant from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs required a $13,750 match with the BRPC funding $4,000 through its Direct Local Technical Assistance grant and the remaining $9,750 paid by the city.

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Shoplifters Pinch $37K in Merchandise from Ulta Beauty

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Four people have been charged for lifting thousands of dollars in merchandise from the Ulta Beauty store in Berkshire Crossing. 
Police were called to the store on Monday night by employees of the beauty products salon and arrested four people — two adults and two juveniles — who had more than $5,000 worth of products on them. 
Raquan Cartre, 22, and Jonneasia Welcome, 19, both of Albany, N.Y., are now wanted after failing to appear in Cental Berkshire District Court on Tuesday
District Attorney Timothy Shugrue says more than $37,000 in total has been stolen in four separate incidents from Ulta Beauty just in the last month. Employees have reported that in these incidents the suspects have driven away in a car with New York plates.
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