Community Planning

community-planning

Initiatives

Housing Regional Strategy

BRPC and 1Berkshire, with the support of a broad working group of housing practitioners from throughout Berkshire County, have launched A Housing Vision for the Berkshires, a regional strategy to lead more intentional efforts to address the current housing crisis.

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Land Use FAQ's

The realm of land use planning and land development is constantly changing. Some of these changes are effectuated upon the passage of a new state or federal law. Other times change is precipitated by the shifting needs or preferences of people in a community or across the country. BRPC attempts to keep apprised of the latest trends in land development and offer guidance to communities. In this initiative, documents will be added to offer basic guidance. The depth of research into these topics will vary, although an attempt was made to discuss the main points of each. For more information on land use issues please contact Thomas Matuszko, Executive Director @ tmatuszko@berkshireplanning.org or (413) 442-1521 ext. 34.

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Marijuana Legalization

On July 28, 2017 Governor Baker signed a compromise bill approved by lawmakers earlier that raises taxes on retail sales of marijuana, establishes stringent requirements for the packaging and labeling of marijuana products, and spells out procedures cities and towns must follow if they wish to ban or restrict pot shops from opening in their communities. There are various issues local governments will confront with the adoption of this law and significant questions about exactly what should and can be done, and when, at the local level.

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Shared Community Planner

The Shared Community Planner program allows each participating town to access services and assistance that fit their specific needs and budget. Participating towns have requested assistance with a wide range of land use and other community planning projects. All municipalities in Berkshire County are invited to contact BRPC to learn more about the Shared Planner program.

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Short-term Rentals

On December 28, 2018, Governor Baker signed H.4841, An Act Regulating and Insuring Short-term Rentals, into law, as Ch. 337 of the Acts of 2018. The regulation, insurance, and taxation of short-term rentals has become a topic of increasing concern and urgency in Berkshire County. As a tourism destination, Berkshire County has been affected by the rise of short-term rentals. As such, regional municipalities may require assistance navigating the new legal realities of short-term rentals.

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Sustainable Berkshire Regional Plan - Adopted

The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission has completed working with a regional Consortium of cross-sector partners to develop a regional sustainability plan for the Berkshires. The three-year project developed a regional vision and supporting goals, policies and strategies for conservation and recreation, economy, local food and agriculture, climate and energy, housing and neighborhoods, historic preservation, infrastructure and services, and land use. Broad and diverse public outreach mechanisms were employed throughout the process to garner strong public input. The Plan was adopted by the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission on March 20, 2014.

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Projects

Adams Zoning Support for Housing and Housing Choice Designation

Berkshire Regional Planning Commission is assisting the Town of Adams to prepare zoning amendments to enable the town to become eligible for Housing Choice Designation. This work includes review of multi-family zoning provisions, review of mixed used development provisions in the 40R district, and review of parking requirements for multi-family housing.

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Becket Open Space & Recreation Plan

Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) will assist the Town of Becket in preparing an Open Space and Recreation Plan.

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Cheshire Zoning Support

The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) will assist the Town of Cheshire, through its Planning Board, to develop zoning amendment language for a zoning overlay district for properties around Hoosac Lake, accessory dwelling unit bylaw and an accessory apartment bylaw.

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District Local Technical Assistance 2022

The District Local Technical Assistance (DLTA) program enables Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) staff to provide technical assistance to member municipalities. This assistance must focus on advancing municipal partnerships, planning for housing, planning for growth, supporting Community Compact, and supporting Housing Choice. It is intended to encourage and enable municipalities to work together to achieve and/or enhance cost-effective service delivery or to create and sustain ongoing collaboration and consultation on issues affecting the municipalities, such as land use and planning for new economic and housing growth. Projects and activities should result in a measurable change in the municipalities, whether in law, regulation, program management, or practice.

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Lee Master Plan and Open Space & Recreation Plan

Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) will provide direct guidance and assist the Town of Lee to concurrently prepare a Master Plan and an Open Space & Recreation Plan.

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Monterey Master Plan

Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) is assisting the Town of Monterey to prepare a Master Plan.

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Rest of River

The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) is serving as the agent of the five Rest of River municipalities (Lenox, Lee, Stockbridge, Great Barrington, Sheffield), and shall retain legal counsel approved by the municipalities. BRPC communicates the position of the municipalities to Counsel regarding filing of legal arguments during the EPA permit and appeals process, during the federal appeals and in negotiations. If it is deemed necessary by the municipalities to pursue litigation related to the river cleanup BRPC will communicate the position of the municipalities to Counsel for the purposes of pursuing the Appeals. BRPC is responsible for all coordination between Counsel and the municipalities; BRPC acts as the agent and representative of the municipalities, subject to advice and approval from the municipalities, in assisting Counsel in these matters; and BRPC acts as the municipalities’ fiscal agent.

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Stockbridge Outsource Planner

Berkshire Regional Planning Commission is providing planning services to the Town of Stockbridge Planning Board.

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West Stockbridge Master and Open Space and Recreation Plan Project

Berkshire Regional Planning Commission will provide direct guidance and assist the Town of West Stockbridge to concurrently prepare a Master Plan and an Open Space & Recreation Plan. Additionally, BRPC will provide guidance and assist the town with amending current zoning bylaws regarding delineation of zoning districts, accessory dwelling units, short term rental regulation, and multi-family housing.

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Williamstown Housing Needs Assessment

Berkshire Regional Planning Commission will prepare a housing needs assessment for the Town of Williamstown.

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Williamstown Open Space & Recreation Plan

Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) will assist the Town of Williamstown in preparing an Open Space and Recreation Plan.

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Windsor Master Plan

Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) will provide direct guidance and assist the Town of Windsor to prepare a Master Plan.

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community-planning

Reports

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