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Lanesborough Planning Board Mulls Town Meeting Proposals

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
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LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Residents will see a town meeting article to cap the size of an accessory dwelling units (ADU) but other Planning Board proposals are undecided.

On Tuesday, the board confirmed that a warrant article placing a 2,500-square-foot cap on the size of an accessory dwelling unit will be submitted for annual town meeting to consider. 

There were questions about a possible frontage reduction size for the residential agricultural zone and parameters for storage in front yards— both were tabled.

The ADU proposal is in response to the lack of housing availability in the community and is the second go-around.

Last year, voters rejected a proposal to remove the 900 square-foot cap on ADUs due to concerns that people would build large structures on their property. With this new cap, planners feel there is a chance of receiving support from townspeople.

Chair Joe Trybus explained that some opposing the change were not comfortable with the lack of limits, adding "I think putting this cap on it and presenting it the same way, we pretty much hit the nail on the head."

The board also discussed drafting a visual representation of the amended bylaw to help town meeting members better understand the proposed changes.

According to the town's code:

"Rear and side yards may contain accessory buildings or structures, provided they cover not more than 30 percent of the combined area of such yards and are located not less than 10 feet from any lot line. Front yards may contain accessory buildings or structures, provided they meet the front setback requirements of this bylaw, that they cover not more than 30 percent of the area between the front setback line and the front of the main building, and that they are located not less than 10 feet from either side lot line, where such is deemed necessary and not detrimental to the neighborhood."

This would would lift percentage requirements and just limit the second structure to 2,500 square feet.

Also at last year's annual town meeting, voters shot down an article proposing that frontage for a building lot in the R/A Zoning District be reduced to 100 feet. This was also to respond to the current lack of housing availability.

"I was just thinking 100 feet because the thing is, you've got to look at what's been done to the town. For so long, it's been 200 feet, two-acre minimum," Trybus explained.

"There's tons of those lots that have been recorded so the objective or the idea to this whole thing is is to take all those lats since the 80s and let those people capitalize on them by breaking them in half."

Consulting Planner Andrew Groff explained that to do it effectively, there would need to be two RA zones instead of an overlay district to make it more clear.  This would require an amendment of the town's zoning map, the dimensional schedule, and the use table to include a new RA zone.

Groff wasn't sure if zoning was the best way for the planning board to address the front yard storage.

The board also accepted a request for a withdrawal of a special permit by the Lakefront Condominium Complex for a 10-unit apartment building at 756 Main St.  The property is the site of the Lakeside Bar and Grill.


Tags: zoning,   

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Berkshire Wind Power Cooperative Corporation Scholarships

LUDLOW, Mass. — For the third year, Berkshire Wind Power Cooperative Corporation (BWPCC) will award scholarships to students from Lanesborough and Hancock. 
The scholarship is open to seniors at Mount Greylock Regional High School and Charles H. McCann Technical School. BWPCC will select two students from the class of 2024 to receive $1,000 scholarships.
The scholarships will be awarded to qualifying seniors who are planning to attend either a two- or four-year college or trade school program. Seniors must be from either Hancock or Lanesborough to be considered for the scholarship. Special consideration will be given to students with financial need, but all students are encouraged to apply.
The BWPCC owns and operates the Berkshire Wind Power Project, a 12 turbine, 19.6-megawatt wind farm located on Brodie Mountain in Hancock and Lanesborough. The non-profit BWPCC consists of 16 municipal utilities located in Ashburnham, Boylston, Chicopee, Groton, Holden, Hull, Ipswich, Marblehead, Paxton, Peabody, Russell, Shrewsbury, Sterling, Templeton, Wakefield, and West Boylston, and their joint action agency, the Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company (MMWEC). 
To be considered, students must submit all required documents including a letter of recommendation from their school counselor and a letter detailing their educational and professional goals. Application and submission details will be shared with students via their school counselors. The deadline to apply is Friday, April 19.
 MMWEC is a not-for-profit, public corporation and political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts created by an Act of the General Court in 1975 and authorized to issue tax-exempt debt to finance a wide range of energy facilities.  MMWEC provides a variety of power supply, financial, risk management and other services to the state's consumer-owned, municipal utilities. 
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