Monday May 14, 2012

LENOX -- A committee to review monument or memorial proposals for town property has been proposed by Selectman John McNinch.

The former Select Board chairman suggested that the committee adopt guidelines to be prepared by Town Manager Gregory Feder spiel, working with newly elected Selectman Channing Gibson.

At their Wednesday night meeting, the Selectmen voted unanimously to go forward with the plan. The guidelines would be reviewed at a public meeting.

Referring to the Kennedy Park Belvedere controversy -- which triggered calls from a citizens group for a review panel -- McNinch asserted that "I think we all agree that the process was more of an issue than anything."

Selectman Kenneth Fowler, the new chairman of the board, agreed. Speaking personally, he said he would be "absolutely leery of accepting any project brought before us that has any significance to it in size. It’s not just process, it’s also the project itself and the size of it. I think that’s most offensive to the people opposed to it.

"The size of that structure is what caused a lot of issues and, as I understand it, what was presented was what was built."

In response to a query from Gibson, Federspiel noted that a possible lawsuit to be filed on behalf of opponents of the Kennedy Park installation could be resolved through a settlement proposal. As of midday Friday, though, the town had received nothing in writing, he told The Eagle.

The lawsuit, if it emerges, would be based on the belvedere’s alleged violation of the state’s Scenic Mountain Act, adopted via a local bylaw. The town’s Conservation Com mission ruled last winter that the memorial did not violate the act.

Also at the Select Board meeting, members discussed holding a joint session with the Marketing and Events Committee to review its future mission. "We’re kind of floundering there," said Se lectman David Roche, who recruited Gibson -- a former Hollywood producer and screenwriter -- to help out.

The committee recently lost two members who resigned -- Richard Wise and Richard Houdek -- and its funding for the next fiscal year has been cut sharply to $10,000 with an additional $45,000 only if Lenox wins a competitive Nat ional Endowment for the Arts "Our Towns" grant. An announcement is likely in July.

During the televised meeting, a call went out for potential candidates to fill two open positions on the Planning Board and the Board of Assessors to submit a letter of interest to Town Hall by May 22.

Joseph Kellogg, a longtime town government leader, resigned suddenly last week as chairman of both boards. He told The Eagle he would not discuss the reasons.

Kellogg’s term on the Board of Assessors had two more years to run; his Planning Board term extended to 2015. He also stepped down as secretary of the Lenox Dem ocratic Committee. The Se lect Board commended him for his long service to the town. Kellogg is serving currently as interim town administrator of Lanesborough.

The Select Board approved an alcoholic-license transfer at Frankie’s Ristorante, held by Jason Macioge’s company, Gabagool, L.L.C.. The transfer gives co-owner Stephane Ferioli, who held 49 percent of the stock, and Ariel Collins, currently a co-owner of Alta Restaurant and Wine Bar, 50-50 control, pending approval from the state ABCC in Boston.

Macioge, who recently sold Fin, the town’s Japanese eatery, also subject to state approval, would no longer be involved as half-owner of Frankie’s.

To reach Clarence Fanto:
cfanto@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6247
On Twitter: @BE_cfanto