2018 has provided enough Great Barrington news to keep journalists busy and observers of town politics highly amused, signaling that the community dubbed “best small town in America” by Smithsonian Magazine continues to be a place in transition.
The divide between the natives and those from outside the area is as wide as it’s ever been. Don’t take my word for it or judge based only on Monday night’s meeting. As of Tuesday afternoon the Great Barrington Community Board Facebook page contained more than 500 comments.
The money for the acquisition would come from a special revenue fund containing proceeds from the sale of town-owned real estate. O’Brien has been in violation of multiple cease-and-desist orders since 2011.
Sean VanDeusen, who heads the town Department of Public Works, said contractors currently performing work on Town Hall found the chimneys “to be in worse shape than previously thought.” Two of the chimneys need to be completely rebuilt.
The selectboard has held a pair of closed-door meetings on the possible purchase and related litigation this month, and has said its goal is to add the item to the warrant for a special town meeting scheduled for Monday, Aug. 6.
In a unanimous vote Monday night, the selectmen urged the Great Barrington Zoning Board of Appeals to reject the appeal of Gary J. O’Brien, whose trucking company has been told to halt its illegal practices on Roger Road.
Selectman Steve Bannon then made a motion that, if building inspector Edwin May attends a hearing in front of the Great Barrington Zoning Board of Appeals or goes to court in the Gary J. O’Brien matter, the town will provide an attorney to represent him. It passed unanimously.