It may only be March but it's that time of year to be thinking and preparing for Great Barrington's annual Town Meeting.

While we're discussing town politics it doesn't hurt to remind you that this year's Annual Town Election is Tuesday, May 11. In regard to Town Election, we recently shared some information about Great Barrington residents running for election or reelection to town office having until Mar. 19 to take out nomination papers. As a reminder, papers must be returned no later than Mar. 23 to the town clerk's office. You can get more details by going here.

Looking ahead to next week and to Town Meeting. The Planning Board will hold a hearing on Thursday, Mar. 25 at 6 p.m., to review and comment on proposed changes to the town’s zoning bylaws. Changes are subject to approval by voters at the Annual Town Meeting in June.

According to the town, Web links and Zoom meeting information will be posted through a link on the Town’s website calendar at least 48 hours prior to the hearing.

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There will be three citizen-led petitions pertaining to cannabis business locations and commercial zoning in town:

  • One seeks to regulate the location and physical requirements for cannabis-related businesses in the town.
  • Another seeks to designate the town’s I-2 zone (downtown between the Cumberland Farms store and the railroad tracks, and east of downtown, near the School and River intersection) as permissible areas for cannabis manufacturing.
  • A third proposal, also a citizen petition, calls for rezoning portions of the MXD (mixed-use district) on South Main Street to R-3 residential. The change would disallow commercial activity in that neighborhood.

These citizen petition items were held over from last year’s Annual Town Meeting, for reconsideration this year. You may remember, that last year's meeting ran out of time and not all of the citizen petition items could be discussed and voted on. The time lapse means that the town must conduct new public hearings on the proposals.

A fourth proposal, from the Planning Board, would update the Downtown Business Mixed Use B-3 district (the Bridge Street area). That zoning designation is considered outdated and in need of revision to reflect how the area is now being used and developed.

A copy of the proposed amendments may be reviewed on the town website

If you wish to be heard on these matters, you should attend the virtual hearing or submit comments in writing prior to 4 p.m. the day of the hearing. Questions can be emailed to crembold@townofgb.org, or call (413) 528-1619 ext. 2401.

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