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News Briefs: Bottle ban enforcement discussion; zoning amendment reviews

Voters at last year's town meeting amended the plastic water bottle ban measure with a May 2019 enforcement date. However, the selectboard must first approve the regulations and develop enforcement provisions.

Selectboard to discuss bottle-ban enforcement at Jan. 14 meeting

Great Barrington — Town leaders will soon accelerate discussion and outreach regarding the town’s pending plastic water bottle ban. The topic is on the agenda of the Great Barrington Selectboard’s Monday, Jan. 14, meeting at 7 p.m. in Town Hall, 334 Main St. The public is invited to attend.

Voters at the May 2018 annual town meeting adopted a ban on the sale of single-use plastic water bottles of one liter and smaller. Great Barrington was the second town in the state to adopt such a ban in an effort to reduce plastic waste, following the town of Concord.

Although the ban called for a Jan. 1 implementation, voters at last year’s meeting amended the measure with a May 2019 enforcement date. However, the selectboard must first approve the regulations and develop enforcement provisions.

“We have work to do, and we will be holding educational and outreach meetings with residents and merchants,” said selectboard Chair Stephen Bannon. Community volunteers have already begun to raise funds toward the purchase and installation of public water filling stations throughout town.

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Stockbridge Road is focus of planning board re-zoning proposals; first meeting is Jan. 10

Great Barrington — After several months of preliminary discussions, the Great Barrington Planning Board will begin to review proposed zoning amendments at its meeting Thursday, Jan. 10, at 6 p.m. at Town Hall, 334 Main St.

The board is considering zoning revisions to increase housing opportunity throughout town and to bring more zoning flexibility to Stockbridge Road. The revisions take their cues from the economic development, housing and land use goals of the Community Master Plan, including redeveloping underutilized sites, allowing for the housing types at various price levels in “in-fill” locations and improving aesthetics on Stockbridge Road. Any zoning changes would maintain and promote a strong business corridor north of town.

The proposed amendments include reducing certain setback and density restrictions for two-family, multi-family and accessory residential uses; allowing “tiny houses” as accessory dwelling units; increasing residential density in the B-3 zone; clarifying percentage of nonresidential space needed in a “mixed-use” development; clarifying allowed uses in the Downtown B zone; revising the Design Advisory bylaw to streamline permitting; and rezoning areas of Stockbridge Road for more mixed uses and increasing landscape requirements.

An online first draft of the proposed amendments is available for viewing. The discussions will continue at each planning board meeting over the coming months. Public input is welcome at all meetings, and at least one of the March meetings will be a formal public hearing regarding the amendments. Meeting agendas are always posted at least two days in advance on the town website. Zoning amendments receiving planning board endorsement will be presented to voters for approval at the May 6 annual town meeting.

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