DEERFIELD – Residents rejected a revised zoning by-law that would have reduced facade requirements for city-owned lots and approved a new by-law requiring chain stores to consider rural character in their designs for four hours when of the annual municipal meeting on Saturday.

Section 17 was a draft by-law that would have reduced the frontage requirements of city-owned lots to 50 feet. While not specifically designed for the proposed North Main Street park project, much of the discussion centered around the park.

Judith Rathbone, a neighbor of the North Main Street lot, said more studies and public hearings should have been done before this settlement appeared on the warrant.

“With some study and input, perhaps new, more reasonable regulations could be developed for municipal facilities,” Rathbone said. “I urge us to wait until then in the future rather than doing everything now.”

Rathbone added that the settlement would also disrupt parts of the city, not just his own.

“The main argument in favor of section 17 is that, because it is the government doing the proposed development, it should be allowed,” Rathbone said. “Intensive development undertaken without the protection of dimensional regulations on city properties throughout the city will have a serious and detrimental impact on all neighbors. ”

Selected council member Trevor McDaniel said the settlement would not let the city run wild with the developments. He also addressed concerns about the city’s purchasing and planning structures on the lots without thinking about existing regulations.

“We think it’s reasonable and that there will be a lot of checks and balances with the planning board,” McDaniel said. “In municipal projects, you learn as you go. I would like to be honest with everyone, as we try to get this stadium in… you have issues that you need to have access to.

After 25 minutes of debate, the city finally voted against the regulation.

Clause 18 dealt with a “formula-based business” regulation that would apply to chain stores or restaurants relocating to Deerfield. The regulation defines a chain of stores as any company that has 10 or more stores in the world and can be identified by standardized characteristics such as color, facade or decor. It will not apply to consumer services such as banks, law firms or health clinics.

Finance committee member Albert Olmstead Jr. said the city has been losing businesses and taxpayer dollars for more than five decades, and this settlement will only discourage future businesses from moving in.

“We’re being asked to hang up the intrusive sign, telling businesses we only want the privileged few,” Olmstead said. “We are anything but a good business city.

Resident Lili Dwight said Deerfield should pass a bylaw like this because times have changed dramatically and the city should try something new.

“The way we grow up is very different from the 1970s. A lot of the malls are empty now,” Dwight said. “The Internet has changed the world. ”

Resident Tolly Stark stressed that the bylaw would not prohibit businesses from locating in the city and is an attempt to work for the future of the city.

“I’ve heard a lot about the past, but I haven’t heard a lot about the future,” Stark said. “Here we see a planning board taking over from our future, turning to what we want to create and moving away from what we don’t want. ”

After more than 40 minutes of debate, the city approved the settlement. Some residents had raised their hands to try to continue the discussion, but someone had already made a motion to move the issue. According to the moderator, the discussion on the city’s statutes could not continue unless the motion to move the issue was defeated.

Residents approved a budget of $ 15.78 million for fiscal year 2022, which is lower than the initial number proposed because Frontier Regional and Union 38 school district superintendent Darius Modestow and the school committee changed the mandate when schools have determined that they do not need the amount of money originally requested.

Residents also passed revised solar energy regulations that set more specific regulations for medium and large scale solar panels. A motion to table the item for the fall was put forward, but residents decided to vote on Saturday. The regulations include new “green development standards” that offer incentives to developers if they design projects in “environmentally friendly ways,” said planning board chairperson Analee Wulfkuhle.

Additionally, participants at Saturday’s meeting opted to make Juneteenth a paid holiday for all beneficiary city employees, change Columbus Day to “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” and adopt the gender-neutral term “Selectboard. “instead of” Board of Selectmen “.

Chris Larabee can be reached at [email protected] or 413-930-4081.



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