To the editor and all Stockbridge residents:
I am asking for your vote for a 5-year position on the Stockbridge Planning Board. I was elected last year for a one-year term and find that I like the work, research and using my background to make decisions on applications for permits for signs, allowing modification to houses and planning for future zoning in Stockbridge.
As your recently retired Stockbridge collector of three elected terms, I have heard from numerous people about their concerns, and now I can work on addressing them.
I have been appointed to a three-member committee to address housing issues, and we were awarded a grant to develop information for you, the residents, so that a discussion can take place about the benefits and concerns residents may have regarding accessory dwelling units.
The most difficult issue that the planning board is dealing with is the Cottage Era Estate bylaw. In 2018, a Zoning Review Committee (ZRC) was formed to recommend a bylaw in response to a proposal by 37 Interlaken at the former DeSisto school. The ZRC recommended and worked with the Board of Selectmen to hire a professional planner to write an Open Space Residential Bylaw. Last spring a planning consultant was hired.
In November the planning board recommended to the select board that the ZRC be disbanded and the work on the bylaw be transferred to the planning board. We have held three meetings reviewing the draft bylaw Mr. Russell wrote.
I see my role in these discussions as working to bring to Town Meeting a bylaw that recognizes the uniqueness of Stockbridge and will encourage a landowner who wishes to develop their property to work within standards that are developed by the town instead of around regulations that allow developers to destroy the features of the town we cherish. I look forward to hearing the public’s robust discussion at a planning board meeting on this bylaw when it is safe again to hold meetings in these uncertain times.
I worry deeply about people who are losing their jobs and businesses. I also worry deeply about people who are losing their lives, yet I know this is an important election. I hope you will go to the town website to find ways to vote as safely as possible on or before Tuesday, June 9, 2020. I will appreciate your vote!
The writer is a member of the Stockbridge Planning Board.