Planning Board Meeting

Wednesday, March 3, 2021, 6:00 pm until 11:45 pm
Online/Dial In Only - See Below for Info
A meeting of the Planning Board

Meeting is held online only and can be accessed at or by phone at 1-970-408-0655 and entering PIN 403 851 967#. Meeting will be recorded for the taking of minutes and deleted after the minutes have been approved.

Meeting of Planning Board

Members: (Quorum)

  • Remote: Sara Wik, Member, at 6:00 PM
  • Remote: Robert Slowinski, Chair, at 6:00 PM
  • Remote: Loren Feinstein, Secretary, at 6:00 PM
  • Remote: Gregory Olchowski, Member, at 6:00 PM
  • Remote: Marybeth Chichester, Member, at 6:00 PM

Also Present:

  • Peggy Sloan of FRCOG
  • Johnathan Lagreze of Foundry Village Colrain
  • Shawn Kimberly Colrain Building Inspector

See original Agenda Approved Meeting Minutes

Meeting opened: 6:00 PM

Meeting closed: 7:18 PM

  1. Meeting Preliminaries

  2. Old Business

    • 6:00: Short Term Rentals/Bed and Breakfast Discussion - Visitor - Peggy Sloan from FRCOG

      General Discussion...
      Peggy Sloan of FRCOG presented some information about Short Term Rentals and other regional town bylaws dealing with these. This was a framework for beginning discussion about updating our town zoning bylaws and use table to reflect the town desires as well as be more inline with state building code.

      Gregory voiced his opinion that the Planning Board should be cautious about taking on this issue right now, because there are currently a lot of regulations and laws being written and reviewed at the state level about Short Term Rentals, and it will be difficult to create a container for this changing target. He suggested potentially tabling this issue for a few months to a year to see what developments occur at the state level.

      After some discussion, there was a general consensus that a simple possible route forward would be to update our definition of Bed and Breakfast to include Short Term Rentals and with or without breakfast served.

      Marybeth suggested we might try to make the footnote in our bylaw more easily locatable or obvious for ease of visibility.

      Johnathan Lagreze suggested that we attempt to protect the right to rent as best we can, in particular with regard to the positive economic impact that renters bring to our town.

      Sara suggested that we recognize the separation and difference between 'safety' concerns and 'neighborhood' concerns, such as noise and traffic or parking impact.

      Peggy suggested that we could also look at our town noise and parking regulations to make sure they are reflective of our town desire.

      Shawn Kimberly suggested reducing the number of bedrooms allowed by right in the B&B provision of the bylaw use table in the bylaws for the rural district. He suggested reducing to around 3 bedrooms from the current 6.

      Peggy suggested a Special Permit process being a possible avenue for more flexible regulation. Shawn said that would be fine by him.

      There was discussion about the possibility of splitting the bylaw into two: one for small short term rentals and one for larger scale rental for commercial purposes, using duration and number of occupants as possible defining characteristics.

      Shawn mentioned that a code hearing currently in progress would be providing much more information around the legal regulations that govern and impact this. He suggested we will be getting much more information from that this following week.

      The board generally agreed to table this discussion and the revision of the town bylaws for now, pending the gathering of more information and the development of other state regulations.

      MOTION, moved by Robert Slowinski, seconded by Marybeth Chichester: To table this discussion and continue to future meetings without immediate action.

      Pass: Aye: Marybeth Chichester, Robert Slowinski, Gregory Olchowski, Sara Wik, Loren Feinstein.

      1. ManchesterbytheSea7905A_app_Short_Term_Residential_Rentals.pdf - Application for Short Term Rental Example
      2. Short-term_rentals_frequently_asked_questions___Mass-gov.pdf - Massachusetts info re: Short Term Rentals
      3. Short-Term-Rentals-and-Your-Town-rev.pdf - Short Term Rentals - FRCOG presentation
      4. Manchester_Bylaw.pdf - Bylaw Example for Short Term Rentals
    • 7:05PM: Review of Setbacks per Zoning Board Request

      General Discussion...
      Bobby suggested that more research and information would be helpful before taking on revising any setback requirements. He suggested we table this discussion until more background is obtained.

      Loren just wanted to bring up the possibility of reviewing the town zoning overlays as another factor involved in the fact that setbacks are creating a challenge for more thickly settled rural areas, such as Foundry Village. He pointed out that if we pursue zoning, that would also impact many other factors, such as the afore-discussed Short Term Rentals. Perhaps zoning would be something that might address multiple concerns at once, though it could also be opening up a can of worms.

      MOTION, moved by Robert Slowinski, seconded by Loren Feinstein: To table this discussion until the following meeting.

      Pass: Aye: Marybeth Chichester, Robert Slowinski, Gregory Olchowski, Sara Wik, Loren Feinstein.

      1. 210301055120_0001.pdf - PB Minutes
      2. Capture.JPG - Variances for Setbacks by Year
  3. New Business

    • 7:02: 44 Wilson Hill Road ANR

      MOTION, moved by Gregory Olchowski, seconded by Robert Slowinski: To approve the ANR as submitted.

      Pass: Aye: Marybeth Chichester, Robert Slowinski, Gregory Olchowski, Sara Wik, Loren Feinstein.

      1. COLRAIN_-_44_Wilson_Hill_Road_COVALENCO.pdf - ANR - 44 Wilson Hill Road
  4. Meeting Wrap-up

The listing of matters is those reasonably anticipated by the Chair which may be discussed at the meeting. Not all items listed may in fact be discussed and other items not listed may also be brought up for discussion to the extent permitted by law.

Minutes prepared by Planning Board Secretary

Minutes approved on Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Posted to: Planning Board