The Berkshires In the News

In this week of Berkshire in the News: Lee gets a Mil, Pittsfield votes on CPA, Last Broadband mile update, EPA final cleanup plan announced, and AirBnB sues NY.

MassWorks Infrastructure Grants: The towns of Charlemont, Chesterfield and Lee were each awarded about $1-million grant to help repair roads and bridges.  The Baker administration believes safer roadways could lead to more business opportunities, especially in rural areas.  This is good news for residents of Lee and to all who use this town as the gateway to the beautiful Berkshires!

Pittsfield voters Decide on Community Preservation Act:  On the ballot in Pittsfield MA is question 3, the Community Preservation Act. While the Berkshire Eagle report on the CPA vote in July, we have a link to the Pittsfield TV show (click the title) that explains the concept of this act.  Local REALTOR Beth VanNess participated in the program and has been on the committee advancing the CPA ballot question.  While the show airs for 60 minutes, a summary of the act and the financial impact can be learned in the first several minutes.  Take a look if you have questions.

Last Mile Broadband Update:  Near and dear to our hearts, the broadband last mile expansion efforts just got a boost, according to an article in the New England Public Radio post.  Click the title to listen (or read) to the details to find out there are now more options for town networks, and [finally] acceptance of a regionalized approach. In related news, according to the Berkshire Eagle the town of Egremont is undergoing a utility pole assessment, a critical first step in the pre-construction process.

Housatonic River Cleanup / Dump:  In a release last week, the EPA Issues Final Cleanup Plan for the Housatonic River “Rest of River” Project in Western Mass. and Conn. This cleanup plan outlines that GE will cleanup contamination in river sediment, banks, floodplain soil and biota that pose unacceptable risks to human health and to the environment. EPA estimates that the cleanup will cost an estimated $613 million and will take approximately two years for initial design activities and 13 years for implementation. It’s important to note that the majority of the sediment and floodplain cleanup is targeted within the first 11 miles in the City of Pittsfield and the towns of Lee and Lenox. Phasing the work will also disperse the effects of the construction activities over time and locations.  The plan calls for contaminated material to be shipped off-site to existing licensed facilities for disposal. The plan also allows for the use of innovative technologies to treat the PCBs if these technologies are proven to be effective at meeting the project’s requirements. Click the title to read the full report.

AirBnB Sues the state of New York for new regulations that would effectively shut down short term rentals of apartments in the city. While Massachusetts Legislators consider home rental taxes and examine the ramifications of the growing AirBnB market, it’s interesting to see NY states hard line approach and what this means for the housing market in the region if super short term rentals are able to be legally eliminated.