New Ashford: Zoning change gets an OK

Wednesday, May 20
NEW ASHFORD — Town meeting voters Tuesday night adopted a zoning change that doubles the minimum width required for a building lot that fronts a town road.

The measure to increase from 100 feet to 200 feet the frontage for a two-acre lot or greater passed by a 22 to 4 margin — easily winning by the necessary two-thirds majority needed for approving zoning by-law revisions.

A similar measure was rejected by New Ashford voters eight years ago.

Planning Board Chairwoman Diane Glick said wider lots are needed to handle on-site water and septic systems.

"We're finding 100 feet is not enough to accommodate wells and septic," Glick said.

She noted pre-existing building lots aren't affected by the zoning change.

However, the few residents against the measure felt it was unnecessary.

"There are plenty of places in town where 100 feet works well," said Matthew Kelly.

The town meeting also approved the fiscal 2010 budget totaling $576,000, up nearly $19,000 from the current spending plan due to increases in the school budget and the assessment the town pays to the Berkshire County retirement system.

In addition, voters agreed to use $15,000 in surplus funds — or so-called "free cash" — to help balance the new budget, which takes effect July 1.

Overall, the town meeting needed just 45 minutes to approve 17 of the 18 articles on the warrant.

The lone item left unresolved asked taxpayers to fork over $132 for a two-year old legal bill.

Voters gladly tabled the article when Selectman Kelton Burbank said the town's attorney would likely waive the legal fee.


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