Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Town of Adams process for soliciting Greylock Glen proposals underway; proposals now due by Dec. 15

Below is the text of the Town of Adams' announcement in July about the availability of a "Request for Proposals" (RFP)  for the Greylock Glen campground development.   The document may be found on the Town of Adams website.   The full RFP is a 2.7MB PDF document which may be downloaded from the link below:


On Sept. 22, 2016, Donna Cesan, community-development director for the Town of Adams, reported that the deadline for replies to the campground RFP has been extended to Dec. 15, 2016.  She also reported on one ERROR in the full RFP:

"The RFP incorrectly identifies the size of the two development parcels (Site A, Site B) on either side of Gould Road (see page 1 (“Introduction”) and page 7 (“Development Site”).  Site A is described as 6.9 acres and Site B is described as 4.9 acres in size. The correct size of the available parcels is as follows: Site A = approximately 11.6 acres; Site B = approximately 11.3 acres (see Appendix A, Map 6 “Overall Lease Plan”). The smaller acreage amounts reference the areas of land disturbance under the Town’s previous schematic design for the Campground sites."

Town of Adams
Request For Proposals
Lease, Development and/or Management and Operation of the
Campground at Greylock Glen
RFP #16-006

The Town of Adams, Massachusetts, through its Community Development Department, is soliciting proposals for the development, construction, and/or operation and management of a 140-site Campground at Greylock Glen through a contract/lease agreement.  The Campground and associated facilities are intended as part of the proposed Greylock Glen Outdoor Recreation & Environmental Education Center (“Greylock Glen Resort”), a four-season resort located at the base of Mount Greylock in Adams.  The Campground, as one of the major development components of the resort, will be built and managed in an environmentally sensitive and sustainable manner.  In addition to traditional tent sites, the Campground is intended to offer rustic cabins, eco-shelters, and limited pull-in sites for trailers up to 15 feet long.  The development site for the Campground is in a defined location on either side of Gould Road and consists of two parcels: Site A is 6.9+/- acres and Site B is 4.9+/- acres.  Both sites are essentially “shovel-ready” with road upgrades and the first phase of utilities improvements now completed.  

The Request for Proposal (RFP) is available from the Community Development Department, 8 Park Street, Adams, MA 01220 on or after July 6, 2016, M-F, between 8:30 AM and 4:00 PM.  Proposals must be received no later than 4:00 PM, Thursday, September 29, 2016 at the Adams Town Hall, Town Administrator’s Office, 8 Park Street, 2nd Floor, Adams, MA 01220 and marked “RFP #16-006: Lease, Development and/or Management and Operation of the Campground at Greylock Glen.”  All proposals will receive consideration without regard to race, creed, color, age, sex, religion, national origin or disability.  The Town of Adams is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

Any questions concerning the proposed project should be directed to the Town of Adams Community Development Department, 8 Park St., Adams, MA 01220,  between 8:30 AM and 4:00 PM in person or by calling Donna E. Ceasan at 413-743-8300 x131. dcesan@town.adams.ma.us / FAX: 413-743-8309.

The Town of Adams reserves the right to accept or reject any or all proposals, to waive any informalities, and to award the contract as may be deemed to be in the best interest of the Town.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Candidates for state Senate debate publicly on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at MCLA's Church Street Center

Downing -- not seeking re-election
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. -- The third in a series of debates among the candidates for Massachusetts State Senate for the Berkshires takes place tomorrow (Wednesday, Aug. 17) at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA).

Democratic contenders are  Andrea Harrington, of Richmond, Rinaldo Del Gallo, of Lenox and Adam Hinds of Pittsfield.  The last faced-off on Aug. 11 at Berkshire Community College.  The primary election is Sept. 8.  Also participating at MCLA on Wednesday will be Republican candidate Christine Canning, of Lanesborough.

North Adams City Councilor Lisa Blackmer has put together the format on behalf of the city's Democratic committee, with moderation provided by the Williamstown League of Women Voters -- so the gathering is non-partisan and will include the GOP candidate as well as three Democrats.  Blackmer says that with the candidates espousing similiar positions on some key issues, she hopes this gathering will focus a bit on how they plan to represent the county.

The event begins at 7 p.m. sharp in the Church Street Center at MCLA and will run until 9 p.m.  Questions will come from the audience and from three blogger-reporters -- Tammy Daniels, managing editor of iBerkshires.com; Jason Velazquez, owner-editor of TheGreylockGlass.com and Bill Densmore, who blogs at greylocknews.com.

Technically the race is for the First Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire and Hampden District for a seat being vacated by Benjamin Downing, who decided not to seek re-election.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

AN INVITATION: Stick your neck out -- and be prepared to collaborate -- on Aug. 11 at the Greylock Economy Working Group circle-round idea forum


This note is an invitation to join a unique gathering from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Thurs., Aug. 11.  It's at the Greylock Mill, the big old factory halfway between Williamstown and North Adams on state Route 2. It's free and it's open to the public.  But you do have to register to attend. And registration is easy.

Just click here:


Many of us have lived a long time in the Greylock region. We've seen profound change over 30 or 40 years -- but the change is not unlike much of America and it is change that is very much at the center of this year's presidential race.  Fewer manufacturing jobs, changing demographics, yet an increasingly diverse and interdependent world due to amazing technology and communications.  
In the last few weeks, you may have read about a gathering organized by state Rep. Gail Cariddi at MCLA, and one organized by The Eagle at Seranac, in Stockbridge. Both have been remarkable efforts -- drawing together some of the region's key thought leaders -- to start discussions about the future of our environment, our economy, and our artistic, social and community lives. 
Mahatma Gandhi said: "You must be the change you want to see in the world."  And Margaret Mead said: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."  
Now its time for each of us to lead.  Won't you please join us on Aug. 11 for a facilitated, open, circle-round discussion about the Greylock economy, environment and communities?  Leaders emerge, they are not annointed. You may have a simple idea you want to put on the table to make our region more just, more inclusive, more stable, more innovative, more attractive or more healthy. Bring it to the circle, please. We'll be gathering ideas and publishing them online after the gathering.

If you come, I am convinced you will meet new, committed neighbors and hear fresh ideas that excite you about or region's future. Don't miss out.
Register today.  Space will be limited.  By registering, you will be letting our participating communities know you are willing to make a difference, willing to reason and work together as part of the ad-hoc Greylock Economy Working Group. 
Thanks.  If you have questions our suggestions about the format, or want to submit papers, ideas,documents or multimedia before we gather -- please email.
Please forward this invitation to a friend or colleague who you think can bring an important, catalytic idea to the circle on Aug. 11. 
And thanks for sticking your neck out to join us!
Bill Densmore
​co-Founder and member, Citizen Media Inc.,\
 non-profit publisher of ​The Greylock Independent ​

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Fwd: BerkShares in the Northern Berkshires

From: "ralph.brill" <ralph.brill@verizon.net>
Date: June 15, 2016 at 6:28:22 PM EDT
At last  summer's Adams Anthony Meeting, I challenged Adams Community Banks's Charles O'Brien to bring South County's BerkShares to the Northern Berkshires.  I put Charles together with BerkShares Susan Witt and they agreed to try to make it happen.  It was supposed to happen by last Xmas.  It didn't.  But this week, it is Official (www.berkshares.org).  Locally Owned Businesses can participate with this World Famous Local Currency.  Residents and Visitors can Purchase BerkShares at any Adams Community Bank.  So, maybe Adams Anthony should take some credit for providing the forum to let this happen.  It now needs to be promoted to Regional Businesses and Residents and Visitors like has happened with our cousins in Great Barrington.  -  Ralph
Ralph Brill, President
413.664 4353

Thursday, May 19, 2016

TEXT: Ex-planning board member asserts "clear pattern of bias" by moderator Adam Filson at Williamstown Town Meeting

The following is the full text of an email sent by Williamstown resident and former Planning Board member Patrick Dunlavey to Adam Filson, an attorney who serves as the town's current Town Moderator. A copy was also emailed to all selectmen, so it is a public record. The note refers to conduct of the May 17, 2016 town meeting. Full video of the meeting, captured by volunteers at staff at WillinNet.org, the town's public-access cable service, can be viewed HERE.


Dear Adam,

I have lived in Williamstown for 28 years and have attended at least that many town meetings. I've seen meetings more contentious than the one Tuesday night, but I've never witnessed one where the way the meeting was moderated so directly contributed to the outcome.

As you know, or should know, a moderator should only vote to break a tie (or to tie - if by doing so the motion is defeated). I was far in the back of the room for most of the meeting, so did not observe this myself, but I'm told that you participated in the standing vote on the Waubeeka article, voting yes. 

But that is not what prompts me to write you. Rather, it is the way you managed the debate on this article. 

A zoning change requires a supermajority (for good reason). A minority controls the outcome, and that minority needs to have an opportunity to present its arguments, in an atmosphere that may feel overwhelmingly hostile to them. Your job is to ensure that both sides can present their arguments, and to fail or succeed on the merits of those arguments. 

But that's not what happened Tuesday night. As Ann McCallum tried to present her prepared remarks, laying out the reasoning behind the square-footage amendment, you repeatedly interrupted her, admonishing her about the time she was taking and the tone of her comments. This completely rattled her, leaving her to frantically figure out what to say and what to leave out. She was booed by some yahoos in the audience, but instead of sternly correcting the offenders and granting Ms McCallum extra time, you urged her to wrap it up. 

The result was a fiery train wreck for that proposal. Yes, she definitely should have edited down her presentation, and the tone was blunt, shall we say. But you made a decision as chair that what she had to say and what that might mean for the outcome of this vote was less important than how she said it.

You did not apply these same standards to Stan Parese, who seemed to have the microphone whenever he wanted it, for as long as he wanted it, to say whatever he wanted to say, in whatever tone he wanted to use. You permitted a re-vote on the sunset clause and clean CR language just voted moments before. (Town Counsel did not opine on whether you should permit the re-vote, just whether as moderator it was within your rights to do so.)

Everything I'm describing adds up to a clear pattern of bias in your conduct of the meeting. It almost certainly changed the outcome. This is unprecedented in my memory, and inexcusable. 

Pat Dunlavey
Oblong Road

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

An "EDITORIAL" -- the owner of GreylockNews.com offers advice on the Waubeeka rezoning

A fellow town resident emailed GreylockNews.com asking for advice about how to vote at tonight’s Town Meeting regarding Michael Deep’s “citizen petition” effort to create commercial zoning in South Williamstown only for the Waubeeka Golf Links property.

 There is lots of background below and at http://www.greylocknews.com that doesn’t need repeating and an unofficial “Voters Guide” too that is here:


 GreylockNews.com (Bill Densmore) has tried to present reportorial-style information about Mr. Deep’s proposal. But we are not a news organization and, like a newspaper, which publishes editorials, we have formed some opinions.

 It strikes us that our readers might like to know those opinions, in order to filter how you interpret our reportorial-style information.

 One take is here: http://greylockindependent.com/2016/03/personal-view-citizens-petition/ 


One fellow townsperson asked if voting tonight will be by secret ballot. My reply: To do it by secret ballot, someone will have to make a motion and we will have to vote on it. I am certain someone will make that motion. I know from talking to Town Clerk Mary Kennedy that she is anticipating secret ballot(s) and has set up the infrastructure and people to handle it.

 As a point of information to individuals who work for Williams College, we posted this blog entry last night:


 A Williams College official replied to a query from GreylockNews.com, asking the school to comment on worries that its employees might feel concern at town meeting in voting contrary to the college's interests or positions. Said James Kolesar, a college spokesman: " . . . [C]olleges, including Williams, are by no means in short supply of public criticism from their employees, and that's how it should be." Williams is appealing to voters to approve an up-to-100-room hotel it proposes for the bottom of Spring Street, to replace the Williams Inn, which would be razed. 

 Here is the advice we offered today to that fellow town resident: 

 On Tue, May 17, 2016 at 10:53 AM, xxxxxxxxxxxxx wrote:

 Hi Bill - thanks for keeping us up to date on the important but shifting & confusing situation about Deep's request to change zoning at Waubeeka. I have a couple of last minute questions: 1. Why hasn't anyone objected to Parese as lawyer representing Deep serving as moderator at Town Meeting? Seems like a conflict of interest.


 But here’s is Stan’s view about the essential value of Town Meeting: http://www.newshare.com/pdfs/democracy.pdf 

 2. For people who think this proposed zoning overlay is too unspecific, too rushed and too fishy and for people who just this Deep is an untrustworthy sleazeball, any advice on how to approach the meeting tonight? 

  1.  Restrict the square footage of the hotel to an appropriate size that won’t impair other hotel/motel businesses in town, costing us tax revenues.
  2.  Define the 120 as "rooms" not "units" (units could be multiple rooms as in a timeshare) and
  3.  Adjust the Conservation Restriction language as needed to make its intent and application clear.
  4. Include language which states the clear intent of the voters is to save the golf course (that’s not anywhere in Mr. Deep’s requested language at present). 
 I believe Ann will make her motion to amend (as representing the majority of the outgoing Planning Board), AFTER Stan Parese moves the Deep-favored amendment.

 If the meeting fails on a simple majority vote to attach Ann's amendment to Stan's amendment (which would replace Stan's amendment), then I recommend that you first:

 (a) Support a motion to send the whole thing back to the Planning Board to start over again (which also requires only a simple majority), or

 (b) Defeat the zoning overlay article on its merits (which at that point will be bad). Only one-third of the meeting has to vote NO on the overall article for it to fail (it needs a two-thirds majority approval). This would be the worst outcome for Mr. Deep; a better outcome for him would be a vote to send it back to the Planning Board without a definitive defeat.

 - if there's a motion to table the vote to give the townspeople & the Planning Board more time to assess the proposal, should we vote yes or try to defeat Article 35? 


 - I guess there are 2 proposed amendments that I assume will be voted on first. Should we vote yes for the better (Planning Board's ) one or vote no on both and hope that the unamended article is so threatening that the people will vote it down? 


Sunday, May 15, 2016

A FRESH PERSPECTIVE: Read what a smart outsider has to say about the Waubeeka zoning proposal

(Posted by Bill Densmore)
On Friday, while visiting at my mother's house in Worcester, I shared the "Unofficial Voters Guide" document with a smart Worcester friend in his 70s who has spent most of his career in health care, but at one point in his life was in real-estate sales for a year or so -- in Britain.  I asked him after he had read the guide, and with no additional information from me, to describe the situation as he understood it.  This is what he said: 
Somebody has a special interest, the seem to want to avoid the normal procedure, which is going through the planning board. Because the citizenry needs the information from the planning board to be able to evaluate it -- and this is completely bypassing what would normally be a town procedure for a project, especially one that is reasonably large.

My other concern is the 67 acres bordering the golf course which is wetlands.  That wetlands would probably be threatened by the development.

It almost seems like they are in a hurry. Usually it is marry in haste and repent in leisure.  Whenever they do shortcuts there is somebody on the inside who is going to make quite a bit a money and it is just a matter of looking at who benefits from this, and I don't think it is going to be the citizenry.
The charm of a town like that is they don't have these big, almost semi-convention centers.
I did commercial real estate many years ago so I know how developers work. You can do a lot of damage changing zoning and you might not expect it. You may not see down the road, you can look at the way the zoning was as say it has worked this way for 50-100 years, why risk changing it? 

Sherwood Guernsey circulates one-page flyer asserting Waubeeka "myths"

South Williamstown resident Sherwood Guersney has prepared and is distributing a one-page flyer asserting "myths" about a zoning-change proposal supported by Waubeeka Golf Links owner Michael Deep.   The flyer may be read here: