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Planning Board Minutes, 10/10/2017

Town of Lenox
Planning Board
October 10, 2017
Landuse Meeting Room

Members present:  Chair Pam Kueber, (PK); Tom Delasco, (TD); Kate McNulty-Vaughan, (KMV); Deborah Rimmler, (DR);
Absent without notification: Kameron Spaulding, (KS)
Staff present:  Peggy Ammendola, Land Use Clerk, (PA)
Also present:  Mark Smith, Franz Forster and Scott Barrow

The meeting was opened at 6:05 PM.

Documents provided for the meeting:
  • Agenda
  • Lenox Master Plan web page
  • Minutes-September 12th and September 26th
  • Polling questions to property owners regarding Short Term Rentals (STR)
Marijuana FAQ

Minutes - Review and vote on minutes for September 12th and 26th.  Both were tabled.

Citizen Open Forum - Citizens may request to speak on any topic, with chair’s approval. There were no requests.

Updates on recent meetings:
        • TD on presentation to Select Board on Recreational Marijuana on Oct. 4 - TD provided a brief review on his presentation before the Board of Selectmen’s meeting October 4th.  He said that he covered the FAQ bullet points regarding the work by the Board on this. He also mentioned to the Selectmen the work the Board plans for the Master Plan and appropriations for that work although there was no discussion on a specific amount.  

        KMV added that she had recently spoken to Ellen Roche who has suggested a recreational marijuana prohibition.  Ms. Roche has been working with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office regarding the process to have this as a ballot vote in May 2018, but she is not sure that she would be ready for the November STM.

        PK added that she has reached out to school committee to ask if they wanted an update on a timeline for this item. She has also had the Town Clerk post information on the Recreational Marijuana FAQ “Quick Links” section of the Town’s website; the FAQ also is now on the Planning Board website.
        • DR and PK on Short Term Rentals (STRs) subcommittee – DR stated that the survey information is close to being finalized.  The purpose of a survey would be to get opinions from residents on how they feel about STRs.  She reminded the Board that the state may pass legislation this year which may set the framework for the Board’s proposed bylaw.  SurveyMonkey, an online survey, is proposed as well as meetings with the public.  PK said that meetings would be scheduled around the STM in November and at the next meeting the Board will plan dates for the meetings. Also planned is setting up a Power Point presentation for a Board of Selectmen’s meeting as well as providing flyers to those attending the STM.  A press release was also suggested as a way to reach the residents with the hope that they will become engaged in discussion.  

Mr. Barrow, Mr. Forster and Mr. Smith joined in the discussion.  Mr. Barrow felt that such rentals provided income.  Mr. Forster said that revenue is a big driver and that in this area he hasn’t seen that people are buying property for the purposes of short term rentals. Mr. Smith said that he has spoken to potential clients regarding short term rentals for whole houses, parts of houses and accessory dwelling units.  

        • KMV on Affordable Housing Oct. 3 – KMV reported that the combined trust committees met and went over all of the possibilities for the proposed bylaw changes.  She said that the Committee is going to Williamstown on October 17th to meet with Williamstown’s affordable housing group and to tour of Cable Mills.  Mary Beth Mitts, the new Chair has a background in working with HUD and expertise in getting housing projects done.  The committees want to put energy into working on the Subsidized Housing Inventory (SHI).  Ms. Mitts, Gwen Miller, and Tim Geller will meet and see what can be done with the~Sawmill~Brook affordable housing project. To work to meet the requirement of having 10% of the housing stock affordable, 12 affordable housing units should be added in each of the next five calendar years.  KMV believes that they also should look into rehabilitating existing housing.   

Mr. Forster brought up a development that is in Northampton, Rocky Hill Co-Housing, which is attached houses in a community.  KMV said that something of this type had been talked about for Sawmill Brook, but it was only conceptual.  

TD asked if the Committee had discussed funding from the Community Preservation Committee.  Gwen Miller will finish the application for November 13th.  

        • PK on BPRC on Sept. 28-PK said that there is so much discussion that occurs at these meetings that she thinks it would be wiser if she would compile notes to hand out to the Board. Most meaningful that came out form the meeting that there were a couple of grants available and she has passed that on to Gwen Miller.   

        • Master Plan–Review and approve draft of funding request for Master Plan consultant to be presented at Special Town Meeting - PK said that Gwen Miller is asking for $50,000 for a Request For Proposal for a 3rd party consultant.  PK feels that this is an opportunity to create a new format as she feels that most people are not interested in reading a lengthy document.  Her suggestion is to have a short preface for each topic that helps to introduce the subject matter.  She suggested putting the Master Plan on a website with the different departments/committees, e.g. Land Use and Economic Development introduced by one page and having the longer study attached. Many towns take 2-3-4 years to do a Master Plan and then it goes to print, but by having it on a website, it can be kept up to date. It would mean that an employee would have to be capable of managing a website.  KMV cautioned that the state may have certain standards for Master Plans, pointing out that when requesting funding from an agency there may requirements. PK understood that the state didn’t have to review.  KMV stated that she is not sure that the timing is right for this undertaking.  PK said that she had proposed this because the Master Plan is 20 years old and Lenox has changed in that period of time. She finds this to be “visioning for the future of Lenox”. In terms of staging, the first part would be to work with the consultant by going through the existing studies, synthesizing, summarizing and reviewing to fill in the gaps and determining how to proceed. DR felt that the Board could define requirements of how they wanted the consultant to proceed.  

DR made a motion to request that a request for an amount of $50,000 be placed on the warrant at the STM for hiring a consultant to create a new Master Plan.

TD seconded the motion and the Board voted to agree 4-0.

Village Parking Plan – Wrap-up draft not yet complete; discussion deferred to a future meeting.

Review Timeline:
        Oct. 24 -- Sign review scheduled for Oct. 24
Nov. 7 – The Board agreed to schedule an extra meeting to review the Stone Path Development Inc. Special Permit, which was filed 10-10.  This will be a Public Hearing.

The meeting was closed at 8:10 PM

Respectfully submitted,
Peggy Ammendola

Lenox Town Hall  6 Walker Street, Lenox, MA 01240   PH: (413) 637-5500