DALTON – A new zoning proposal has been placed on the table to attract and improve industry in town.
Last night, members of the recently formed Business Park Zoning Committee met with members of the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission to look over a preliminary proposal addressing the areas between Dalton’s South Street and the town’s border along Hubbard Avenue in Pittsfield.
The proposed area, known as the Planned Industrial Development District, includes Crane & Co. property and several other privately owned parcels of land.
“This can expand the tax base in town and get new business into town,” said Business Park Committee member Michael Hoffman.
Expedited permitting process
The proposal also includes plans to adopt an expedited permitting process of 30 to 60 days versus the current 180 days.
“There’s no downside, and there’s a potential upside,” he added.
Joellyn Warren, senior planner for the BRPC presented the group with zoning recommendations and amendments as well as a map of the potential district.
The newly proposed guidelines would be adopted by the existing Dalton Zoning Bylaw.
Various businesses targeted
The types of developments that would be permitted by right with a site plan review range from printing establishments, warehouses, research and development facilities, offices, medical and dental facilities, corporate administrative buildings, water- or wind-power generators up to 80 megawatts, public utility and communications facilities, and other enclosed light industrial uses that do not involve hazardous materials.
Operations such as vocational schools, day-care facilities, gas stations, bus terminals, and motor vehicle and laundry establishments could be allowed by special permit.
Prohibited uses essentially encompass any operation that could threaten or alter the environment, such as landfills, disposal sites, incinerators, and underground or outdoor storage of hazardous materials.
“This is all very preliminary, and it will go through so many eyes before anything is final,” Warren said.
Building inspector first
Any new proposal under the new district would have to be submitted first to the town’s building inspector along with a detailed site plan. The inspector would then forward the proposal to the Planning Board for approval.
The industrial district plan comes from the town’s efforts to develop community initiatives under the framework of the state’s Smart Growth and District Improvement Financing programs.
The guidelines are meant to promote not only new developments, but also the adaptive reuse of existing buildings in the district.
Town Manager Kenneth Walto said that Crane & Co. is aware of the town’s plans and has been involved in talks regarding development of a master plan for its Hubbard Avenue area site.
He said he hopes soon to bring private property owners within the proposed boundaries to the development table.
“This (plan) is going to improve how we do things in town,” Walto added.
The town’s Development & Industrial Commission will further discuss the recommendations at its next meeting on Wednesday at 8 a.m. in the Crane Room at the Town Hall.
By Jenn Smith, Berkshire Eagle Staff
13 April 2007
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