Cheshire Planning Board
Hearing:  April 24, 2017  7PM
Cheshire Annex

Present: Donna M. DeFino, Shannon C. Plumb, Esq., Francis M. Griswold, Peter H. Traub and Ronald W. DeAngelis.

Donna opened the Cheshire Planning Board monthly meeting at 7pm.  Peter moved to accept the minutes of March 27, 2017; 2nd by Fran with a unanimous vote taken.

Carole H. reported that Town Counsel, E. St. John III will be mailing the article for the upcoming
Cheshire Annual Meeting regarding Marijuana Dispensensaries.  Donna will be going to the BOS meeting on Tuesday, April 25, 2017 to further discuss the Marijuana Dispensary article.

- Introduced Eammon Coughlin, Planner at the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission.  He reviewed the status of the Cheshire Master Plan and noted that it is a broad document that covers many topics and activities for the next ten (10) to fifteen (15) year time period.  He reported that the Cheshire Planning Board can approve or disapprove the Master Plan.  It is an advisory – suggestions or a wish list.  The Implementation and Action Plan is created for the town to take direction for the town to look into how to act on the people’s concerns and or best practices.
- Peter said that the Cheshire Master Plan is cumbersome and therefore Aamon created a priority list of fifteen (15) pages for an Action Plan. “The Action Plan details each implementation action contained in the prior chapters of the Master Plan, the proposed timing for the action to be taken, potential leadership, and other interested parties responsible for implementing the action.”
- Aamon noted that the present Master Plan Committee group is organized and most likely is the best solution for creating an Implementation Committee of volunteers and possibly staff.

- Noted a need to focus where to go from here.

- Reported that he attended a community meeting with Senator Adam Hinds on Thursday and he stated that the Senator said in regard to receiving money for the Cheshire Elementary School, “Don’t hold your breath.”  Discussion continued about what the plan for the school will be in regard to putting it in the Master Plan.  No goals were generated for the school building to date.

- “Education is paramount.  She would want the highest level of education offered to our children. Children in our community deserve an excellent education.”

- From the survey completed for this study, 99% wanted to have the Cheshire Elementary School remain open.  The Master Plan will be able to address the issue in a more comprehensive way once the final decision is made by the School Committee and towns.

- Believes people were pushed to do something in a small amount of time.  There has been more activism in the last six (6) months regarding the school districts than there has been in years.

- Will be attending a workshop on May 19, 2017 on Housing in the Berkshires.  $30.00 The workshop is offered by the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission from 8:30am to 4:30pm.

- Discussed the pros and cons of Green Communities.

- The Cheshire Water Department is working on creating their own Water Master Plan.  This would be their first step and a sewer system might be the outcome.

- Wondered why businesses are not coming to Cheshire?  Shannon felt that Route 8 is a perfect business zone for those traveling through.  There are several colleges in the area, Cheshire is attractive, and it has natural resources and beauty.

Aamon suggested that the advisory committee contact TAC to possibly participate in monies/grants available.
- The Town might consider revising laws around the lake area.  Property sizes could be smaller if a sewer system were in place.  Natural Resources. That might mean the Town would work more with the farms.  Chapter 61 might be reviewed more closely.  Discussed the Right to Farm law.
- Signs might be places around the town to promote the Appalachian Trail and Mount Greylock.
- The group questioned the Welcome to Cheshire sign that has never been placed on the property opposite the Cheshire Fire House. Peter will check with the Lions Club.

Aamon went through the Action Plan and answered any questions presented.

- Stated that the Master Plan was a guide, a synopsis with wonderful points.  After reading the plan and the Action Plan she believed that next month the Board might have more questions. Aamon agreed to attend.

Carole H.
- Needs to check as to when the Ayotte visit last took place.  She will report back to the Board.

- Is working on recruiting a Cheshire Planning Board Alternate member.

A letter will be written to Mr. Jon Madden, 173 Lakeshore Road, regarding his placement on the May Agenda.

Next Meeting: Monday, May 22, 2017 – 7pm – Cheshire Annex.

With all business finalized, Ron motioned to close the meeting at 9:30pm; 2nd by Peter with a unanimous vote taken.

Respectfully submitted,

Carole A. Hilderbrand, Recording Secretary

Donna M. DeFino, Chairman
Shannon C. Plumb, Esq.
Francis M. Griswold   
Peter H. Traub
Ronald W. DeAngelis