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Pittsfield City Council Briefs
By Joe Durwin, Pittsfield Correspondent
09:12AM / Wednesday, February 13, 2013
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City Council covered a number of items at a brief meeting on Tuesday night.

The Committee on Ordinances and Rules will explore the possibility of allowing reduced tax liability for seniors older than 60 in consideration for volunteer services offered in accordance with Massachusetts General Law 59, Chapter 5k.  

Seniors are invited to attend the subcommittee meeting on March 4 to share their input.  

• A petition to amend the city code to expand the membership of the Policy Advisory Committee from seven to 11 members passed a first read Tuesday. The committee,  reactivated by Mayor Daniel Bianchi in 2012, has generated substantial interest from residents.

• More than $100,000 in grants to the city were approved, including $44,044 from Western Massachusetts Electric Co., and amounts of $60,000 and $3,859 from the state Executive Office of Public Safety and Security. The donation of a utility trailer to the Fire Department from the Staskin family was also accepted.

• The council voted unanimously in favor of a recommendation from the Traffic Commission to extend a no-parking zone on High Street from Caledonia Street to Thompson Place.

• The council also approved a truck ban on Peck's Road and Highland Avenue, extending from the Lanesborough town line to the intersection of Highland and Valentine Road. The truck ban was sought by Ward 7 Councilor Anthony Simonelli in response to complaints from residents about increased use of this residential corridor as a shortcut for commercial trucks, though he and other councilors admitted that other such bans had been less than completely successful because of a lack of sufficient traffic enforcement.

• A controversial proposal from Cafua Management to permit a Dunkin' Donuts drive through on the current site of the former Plunkett School building, previously postponed by a demolition delay order because of its historic significance, was referred to the Community Development Board for review at its March 5 meeting. The application must then return to the council for a public hearing before it votes on whether to approve the permit.   

• The Community Development Board will also be the next stop for a petition to amend a section of city code governing "Customary Home Occupations" to include "cooking, baking and preserving." City Planner C.J. Hoss said this provision was taken out of the code in 1982 because it was believed to conflict with state law, but this has been determined to be in error. Hoss told the council such businesses would still be required to observe all the usual permitting requirements for commercial food preparation.

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