PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City Council has requested that the Public Services Department open up beach bathrooms.
Ward 7 Councilor Anthony Maffuccio put forth a list of petitions Tuesday night with one aimed at keeping the beaches clean by opening the bathrooms.
“We have two lakes that are jewels and people are using the woods and the lake for their bathroom,” he said. “I sent you all pictures of the toilet paper laying around because there are no facilities to use.”
There was no response from city staff who have kept public bathrooms closed during the pandemic but the petition gained unanimous support front the council.
Maffuccio said the Deming Park bathrooms were open and saw no reason to keep the beach bathrooms closed.
“Then maybe we should think about closing the public beeches,” He said. “People are up there for three or four hours where do you think they are going to go to the bathroom.”
Maffuccio’s other petitions dealt with the city lakes that are getting much more use in the summer months and he asked the Parks Department and the commissioner of public
services to reclaim the Pontoosuc Lake overflow parking lots.
“They are becoming overcrowded and people are starting to park along the tree line,” he said. “They are blocking in other people.”
He said there is an overflow parking lot across the street that has become overgrown. He suggested that the city clean up the site and provide signage directing people to the lot.
Maffuccio also asked for more garbage barrels at the causeway.
“It is a very busy recreation area in the summer and we are having problems,” he said. “There are only two barrels up there and it is getting overloaded there is garbage everywhere.”
Although having less to do with recreation areas, one of Maffuccio’s final petitions dealt with the Lakeway Drive cul de sac. He said it has become a hotspot for crime.
“People park there and they use the woods as their bathroom,” he said. “There are a lot of overdoses up there and a lot of domestic violence.”
He said the police do what they can and felt a “No Loitering” sign could help matters.
Ward 1 Councilor Helen Moon understood Maffuccio’s plight but thought it would be more productive to discuss the underlying issues with drug use and domestic violence in the city and maybe extend a helping hand.
“Everything is not in our back yard and we need to talk about the underlying issues that may be causing this,” she said. “I share and understand your concerns in your ward but I think that we can think a lot more deeply about how to address these issues and I am happy to connect with you and try to problem solve this.”
Maffuccio said he did not think the folks using the area wanted help and it was a matter of helping the residents.
“I have two vehicles on video. A guy battering one car up and a woman and two others with baseball bats,” he said. “All this the residents have to tape record and I bring this to the police and they do the best they can. I am trying to detour that area.”
Maffuccio also requested a list of sidewalks that will be replaced with the Community Development Block Grant funds and urged the Community Development Office to use some of its resources in Wards 6 and 7 instead of just focusing on developing areas in the city.
Director of Community Development Deanna Ruffer said Wards 6 and 7 are in the department’s plans but CDBG funds only go so far. She also cited use of the Complete Streets Program as being mindful of all sidewalks.
Other members of the council still felt the city needed to be more aggressive in addressing sidewalks.
“We have a sidewalk issue in this city,” Councilor at Large Earl Persip said. “The sidewalks are terrible and we have no plan.”
“They are deplorable and if the city is looking to get sued keep doing whast you’re doing,” Ward 2 Councilor Kevin Morandi said. “A lot of them are real tripping hazards.”
The City Council made two references to the Community and Economic Development Board.
To amend the city’s Housing Development zone and approve a tax increment exemption for AM Management that plans to develop new market-rate housing within the amended zone.
AM Management plans to invest $2,584,125 in 235 East St. to develop 27 units, 24 of which will be market-rate.
The agreement will provide an exemption on property taxes based on the growth portion in assessed valuation of the property at 100 percent for the first year and decrease 10 percent each year for 10 years, reaching 10 percent in year 10.
The agreement would begin July 1, 2021 and extend to 2031.
The second is a tax incentive agreement for 730-748 Tyler St. and 765 Tyler St. for Mill Town Capital.
The project will create 20 units of market-rate rental housing. This project represents $6.3 million of capital investment.
The second project on 765 Tyler St will include the rehabilitation of an existing multifamily building. $3.6 million will be invested to create 16 units of housing and two retail
The exemption would be scheduled the same as the East Street agreement and city assessors have estimated the value of the proposed TIE for 730-748 Tyler St. to be approximately $151,259. Mill Town Capital would pay approximately $209,429 in taxes over the 10-year term of the agreement.
The estimated value of the proposed TIE for 765 Tyler St is approximately $84,189 and Mill Town Capital would pay approximately $271,307 in taxes over the 10-year term of the agreement.
• The City Council referred the use of $223,000 of Community Preservation Act funds for various projects to the subcommittee on finance as well as the borrowing of $2,750,000 to pay the cost of the new Western Pressure Zone Water Storage Tank. This included another order to borrow $950,000 to pay the cost of the Cleveland Reservoir Diversion Structure Maintenance-Cady Brook Diversion Project.
• The City Council authorized the mayor to negotiate and enter into a 99-year lease with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation for the parcel of land running from the Lanesborough-Pittsfield town line to Crane Avenue to become the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail extension.
With this, the City Council also accepted gifts of temporary and permanent easements from Berkshire Concrete Corp., Petricca Development, LLC, WJK Realty, LLC, Renau Construction Co., Inc. and Big Block, LLC for the construction of the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail extension to Crane Avenue
The City Council accepted a $16,000 grant from the Lawrence and Lillian Solomon Foundation through the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.
These grant funds will be directed toward technical assistance with the development, submission, and evaluation of the Shared Streets and Spaces Grant offered by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation under pandemic response and recovery.
• The City Council approved an order from the mayor to pay a previous year’s expense in the amount of $2,058.12.
• The City Council appointed Alisa Costa, Maria Liccardi, Kenneth Ferris, Justine Dodds, and President Peter Marchetti to the Mobile Home Rent Control Board.
The City Council reappointed James Conant, Franz Forster, and Stephanie Dick to the Conservation Commission.
The City Council appointed Allyson Holmes and Kathleen Allen-DeWitt to the Zoning
Board of Appeals and appointed Spring Hajjar to the Pittsfield Cultural Council.
The City Council appointed Colin Benner, Craig Jones, Ansy Jumeau, and Alissa
McDonald as Police Officers with the Pittsfield Police Department.