District Local Technical Assistance - 2014

The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) receives funds directly from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to provide direct technical assistance to communities in Berkshire County. Each year the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) published guidelines on the type of projects eligible for DLTA funding. In 2014, the eligible project categories are (1) Planning Ahead for Housing, (2) Planning Ahead for Growth, and (3) Supporting Regional Services. BRPC staff issued a solicitation for projects in December 2013 and received twenty-one (21) applications in response to the solicitation. Each successful applicant will be paired with a designated BRPC staff person with the relevant expertise to accomplish the identified goals of the project.

Note: DLTA funding is provided as a line item in the annual state budget and is never guaranteed the following year. If you find the program useful please contact your State Representative and Senator and ask him or her to include the DLTA program in the next state budget.

The following projects have been selected for funding through the 2014 District Local Technical Assistance Program: 

Adams Housing (40R):

BRPC staff will provide technical assistance to the Town of Adams to develop and submit a Chapter 40R application to the DHCD in order to create a Smart Growth Zoning Overlay District. Chapter 40R districts encourage more dense residential and/or mixed use development with a minimum percentage of affordable units required.  

Becket Housing:

BRPC staff will provide technical assistance to the Town of Becket to create an Affordable Housing Committee and to develop a Housing Needs Assessment. Other activities will include investigating the limitations that the towns limited infrastructure has on locations for affordable housing and exploring the establishment of an Affordable Housing Trust.

Cheshire Zoning for Growth:

BRPC staff will provide technical assistance to the Town of Cheshire to review its outdated zoning bylaws and identify areas in the bylaws for revision that impact growth in the Town. 

Dalton Economic Development Planning:

BRPC staff will provide technical assistance to the Town of Dalton with the redevelopment of two separate mill/factory buildings in the Town. 

Great Barrington Housing Planning:

BRPC staff will provide technical assistance to the Town of Great Barrington with the development of a Housing Production Plan. Other activities include investigating the potential submission of a Chapter 40R application and the establishment of an Affordable Housing Trust.

Housatonic River Restoration:

BRPC staff will provide technical assistance to the six (6) “Rest of River” communities (Pittsfield, Lenox, Lee, Stockbridge, Great Barrington and Sheffield) in negotiations with General Electric regarding compensation for socio-economic damages related to the pending cleanup efforts. Other activities include providing technical assistance with the review of the final cleanup plan once it is released by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Northeast Gas Pipeline Project :

BRPC staff will convene a working group with representatives from the municipalities most likely to be affected by the proposed Kinder Morgan natural gas pipeline extension. The purpose of the working group is to provide municipal representatives the opportunity to learn about the proposed project and the permitting process, to collaborate and share information and to begin a regional dialogue about future potential courses of action.  

North Adams Zoning for Growth:

BRPC staff will provide assistance to the City of North Adams to review it's zoning ordinance and identify ordinance provisions that impact growth in the City. Other activities include revising the existing zoning ordinance and developing priority zoning amendments.

Otis Village Planning:

BRPC staff will provide technical assistance to the Town of Otis to continue planning for future growth by planning for the expansion of the existing public sewer and water infrastructure in the village area.

Pittsfield West Side Zoning for Growth:

BRPC staff will provide technical assistance to the City of Pittsfield to examine and identify opportunities for introducing small scale commercial uses in the West Side Neighborhood

Richmond Long Range Financial Sustainability:

BRPC will provide technical assistance to the Town of Richmond to develop a long range financial sustainability plan focused on the future growth of the Town.

Richmond Housing Planning:

BRPC staff will provide technical assistance to the Town of Richmond to establish an Affordable Housing Committee and engage in housing planning activities.

Regional Shared Energy Manager:

BRPC staff will work with interested communities to investigate the feasibility of creating one or multiple shared energy managers to serve participating municipalities.

Regional Industrial Sites Report:

BRPC staff will work with interested communities and 1Berkshire to identify industrial and commercial sites in the region that are available for development. The identified sites will be listed in a report to assist municipalities and 1Berkshire in responding to requests for information from businesses with interest in locating to the region. 

Regional Information Technology Services:

BRPC staff will provide technical assistance to the interested communities with developing and carrying out an information technology needs assessment. The results of the needs assessment may serve as the basis for future group purchases.

Regional Economic Development District:

BRPC staff will provide technical assistance to the interested communities with investigating the feasibility of creating a county-wide Economic Development District designation by the Economic Development Administration as a means of increasing economic development resources in the region.

Washington Zoning for Growth:

BRPC staff will provide technical assistance to the Town of Washington to plan for economic growth that is suitable for a small rural community, such as home occupations and smaller commercial uses.