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Edmunds argues for a post on the Stockbridge Planning Board

By Wednesday, May 15, 2019 Letters 1

To the editor:

Ours is a divided country. Now is the time to vote and get involved in local government. That’s why I want to remain on the Stockbridge Planning Board.

My Republican opponent seeks my seat because, as a private citizen, I strongly opposed amending a bylaw to green-light the DeSisto project. That amendment, written by the developer’s out-of-town lawyer, would have allowed an over-sized “village” on a residentially zoned road. Town Counsel and the Planning Board rejected it. I would support a more sensible plan in keeping with the character of the neighborhood and with minimal impact on the environment. Theodore Roosevelt wrote, “Every man holds his property subject to the general right of the community to regulate its use to whatever degree the public welfare may require.”

Next month I begin my 10th year as an elected Housing Authority Commissioner. It’s been a privilege to serve as Chairman as we work to keep Heaton Court one of the Commonwealth’s top housing choices. In July I was appointed to the Planning Board and I’ve seen our decisions contribute to the town’s quality of life. To deepen my understanding, I’ve attended training workshops at the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission. I’ve also learned how to evaluate applications and measure them against our Bylaws. We need to listen carefully, ask the right questions, and study the applicable Bylaw. Because our duty is to help shape the town’s future, I prefer to go slowly. A wrong choice can put the town on a slippery slope, with an unknown outcome.

When Tanglewood wanted to make modifications to their landscape I voted for the project as it met our bylaws. But I voted against building a driveway over Lilly Brook that far exceeded the 500-foot limit. Later, the Conservation Commission voted to reject that proposal. Looking ahead, we need to explore the impact of at-home businesses, tele-commuting, and short-term rentals. And we need to find more ways to preserve open space and shore up property values.

Let’s make decisions we can be proud of 50 years from now. We do not need to make Stockbridge great again. We just need to keep Stockbridge great.

I am pleased to have the endorsement of several Planning Board members and the Town of Stockbridge Democratic Committee and I respectfully ask for your vote on May 21st.

Barney Edmonds