Guided by respected journalistic standards, the principle of fairness, the quest for truth, a commitment to social, economic and environmental justice, and an abiding admiration for the independent spirit of the Berkshires, The Berkshire Edge offers in-depth local news reports and features, perspectives on the arts, wide-ranging commentary, and a comprehensive calendar of events – all written, illustrated, and, in some cases performed, with wit, intelligence, insight and humor.
Here are a few stories from the Edge this week:
1. The town of Great Barrington held its annual town meeting this week, a four-hour affair in the parking lot of the high school, due to COVID restrictions. People were in their cars listening to the proceedings on their car radios:
a. The most contentious issue that dominated the meeting was what to do about the proliferation of short-term rentals and Airbnb’s … the selectboard had proposed restrictions … and the declaration by some longtime Great Barrington residents that the conversion of the community into a second-home retreat was creating a “slow bleed” of working class families and artists:
b. Other budget items passed without much debate, including $19 million for the regional school district .. an increase of $600,000 over lat year — without much comment… which is unusual… perhaps it was the darkness of the parking lot:
c. And the town meeting adopted Community Preservation Act projects, zoning bylaws, body cameras for the cops, and to wrap up the discussion about short-term rentals (STR), the town meeting approved a 3 percent “impact” fee on STRS that will be applied to affordable housing projects:
2. And finally, the Tri-town Health department reports good news on the COVID front… cases have been falling for the past several weeks: