District Local Technical Assistance - 2015

BRPC provided assistance for the following projects:

Adams Housing

Participating Municipalities: Town of Adams

Eligibility Category:  Planning Ahead for Housing

Outcomes & Next Steps:  This work resulted in the development of a draft funding strategy for the redevelopment of the former Adams Memorial School. As a next step, the town will continue to pursue funding opportunities for the redevelopment of the former school.

Lee Housing (40R)    

Participating Municipalities:  Town of Lee

Eligibility Category:  Planning Ahead for Housing

Outcomes & Next Steps:  This work resulted in the development of a draft housing needs assessment and the completion of the preliminary work for a Chapter 40R application for the Eagle Mill site. As a next step, the town will finalize its housing needs assessment and prepare a 40R application when the developer of the Eagle Mill site is ready to move forward.

Cheshire Zoning for Growth (II) 

Participating Municipalities:  Town of Cheshire

Eligibility Category:  Planning Ahead for Growth

Outcomes & Next Steps:  This work resulted in the adoption of an entirely reorganized and updated zoning bylaw that will help encourage appropriate growth in the town. As a next step, the planning board has a list of future changes that it would like to pursue over the next couple of years.

Dalton Master Plan  

Participating Municipalities:  Town of Dalton

Eligibility Category:  Planning Ahead for Growth

Outcomes & Next Steps:  This work resulted in an update to the economic section of the master plan, as well as, the collection of data for other sections. As a next step, the town will continue to work with BRPC staff to update the remaining sections of the master plan. The master plan update is scheduled to be completed in 2016.

Great Barrington Economic Development

Participating Municipalities:  Town of Great Barrington

Eligibility Category:  Planning Ahead for Growth

Outcomes & Next Steps:  This work resulted in the collection of local economic data through a survey and from other available sources. Much of the data sought by the town was not collected at the local level. As a next step, the town will develop a second survey in an attempt to collect the local economic data.

Lee Open Space Recreation Plan

Participating Municipalities: Town of Lee

Eligibility Category:  Planning Ahead for Growth

Outcomes & Next Steps:  This work resulted in an updated open space and recreation plan that will make the town eligible to pursue certain grant opportunities.

New Marlborough Zoning for Growth    

Participating Municipalities:  Town of New Marlborough

Eligibility Category:  Planning Ahead for Growth

Outcomes & Next Steps:  This work resulted in the development of draft zoning amendments that, when adopted, will enable the village areas in the town to experience growth that is appropriate to the existing development pattern and character. As a next step, the planning board will conduct public outreach in the spring and a public hearing prior to next year’s annual town meeting.

North Adams Zoning for Growth (II) 

Participating Municipalities:  City of North Adams

Eligibility Category:  Planning Ahead for Growth

Outcomes & Next Steps:  This work resulted in the development of a revised and reorganized zoning ordinance in the region’s second largest city. The adoption of the new zoning ordinance requires two votes by the city council. The first unanimous vote to adopt took place in December 2015. As a next step, the city council will take its second vote to adopt the new zoning ordinance in January 2016.

Otis Master Plan    

Participating Municipalities:  Town of Otis

Eligibility Category:  Planning Ahead for Growth

Outcomes & Next Steps:  This work resulted in the development of a master plan for the town and an update to its open space and recreation plan. As a next step, the town will continue to work with BRPC staff to finalize and adopt the master plan in 2016.

Sandisfield Zoning for Growth  

Participating Municipalities:  Town of Sandisfield

Eligibility Category:  Planning Ahead for Growth

Outcomes & Next Steps:  This work resulted in the development of a revised and reorganized zoning bylaw that will allow appropriate growth in the town. The new zoning bylaw also clarifies the permitting process. This work also resulted in the development of a draft master plan. As a next step, the planning board will hold a public hearing on the new zoning prior to next year’s annual town meeting and the master plan committee will finalize the master plan in 2016 and present it to the planning board for adoption. 

Washington Financial Sustainability   

Participating Municipalities:  Town of Washington

Eligibility Category:  Planning Ahead for Growth

Outcomes & Next Steps:  This work resulted in the development of a financial sustainability report that included a capital facilities and equipment inventory, as well as, inventories of town-owned properties, tax title properties and local bridges and culverts. As a next step, the finance committee will prioritize the recommendations in the report and then begin implementation of those items.

Regional Economic Development District   

Participating Municipalities:  City of North Adams

Eligibility Category:  Supporting Regional Services & Collaboration

Outcomes & Next Steps:  This work resulted in the development of a draft application packet for submittal to EDA for the EDD designation. As a next step, BRPC staff will coordinate submittal of the application packet with EDA and seek the support of the region’s municipalities for the designation.

Regional Aging Friendly Communities     

Participating Municipalities:  Towns of Adams, Williamstown, Egremont, Sheffield and the City of Pittsfield

Eligibility Category:  Supporting Regional Services & Collaboration

Outcomes & Next Steps:  This work resulted in the development and administration of a survey on aging in the Berkshires that provided critical baseline information about the attitudes and practical difficulties of aging in place. As a next step, the Aging Friendly Task Force will continue its work on trying to make the region more aging friendly based on the information discovered through the survey.

Rest of River Cleanup   

Participating Municipalities:  Towns of Sheffield, Great Barrington, Stockbridge, Lee, Lenox and the City of Pittsfield

Eligibility Category:  Supporting Regional Services & Collaboration

Outcomes & Next Steps:  This work resulted in the coordinated review and a response to the proposed remedy for the cleanup of the Housatonic River that was released by the EPA. As a next step, the Rest of River Committee will finalize its comments and submit to the EPA and then continue to monitor the situation and respond when necessary to protect the interests of the Rest of River communities.

Northeast Gas Pipeline Project   

Participating Municipalities:  City of Pittsfield, Towns of Richmond, Pittsfield, Lenox, Dalton, Washington, Windsor, Sandisfield, Hinsdale, Peru

Eligibility Category:  Supporting Regional Services & Collaboration

Outcomes & Next Steps:  This work resulted in the coordinated review and response to the proposed Northeast Energy Direct gas pipeline as it goes through the FERC licensing process. BRPC staff have used DLTA resources and other local resources to educate and assist the potentially affected communities to achieve the best possible outcomes. As a next step, BRPC staff will continue to coordinate the working group and the group’s responses to FERC as the licensing process continues into 2016.

Regional Population Loss Study    

Participating Municipalities:  Towns of Sheffield and Great Barrington

Eligibility Category:  Supporting Regional Services & Collaboration

Outcomes & Next Steps:  This work resulted in the development and administration of a population survey. The purpose of the survey was to gain insight as to why young adults leave the region. As a next step the BIG working group will look to find ways to attract young adults to the region and also explore ways to retain the young adults who already reside here.

Regional Veterans Agent District     

Participating Municipalities:  Towns of Dalton, Lenox and Cheshire

Eligibility Category:  Supporting Regional Services & Collaboration

Outcomes & Next Steps:  This work resulted in the development of a draft inter-municipal agreement for Dalton and Cheshire to share a veteran’s agent. As a next step, the two towns needs to execute the agreement and the Town of Lenox will work with BRPC staff to explore the establishment of an actual regional veteran’s district.

DLTA’14 Wrap-Up      

Participating Municipalities:  Multiple

Eligibility Category:  Project Wrap-Up

Outcomes & Next Steps:  Pittsfield – finalized the zoning report. As a next step, the report will be reviewed by the community development board.

Dalton – provided assistance to the DDIC/DRA on economic development planning. As a next step the DDIC/DRA will prioritize implementation items.

Sheffield – finalized the zoning report. As a next step the planning board will review the report and determine what recommendations to pursue.

Richmond – reviewed and edited the housing needs assessment. As a next step, the housing committee and BRPC staff will work to finalize the assessment.

Great Barrington – worked to identify potential Chapter 40R locations mostly through GIS mapping. As a next step, the planning board will select a location or locations on which to pursue a 40R designation.

Washington – attended the public hearing and annual town meeting for adoption of the home-based business bylaw. There are no next steps planned as the bylaw was adopted.