Highlights: Town Administrator Michael Canales, working with the Select Board and Finance Committee, has delivered an overall spending plan that should yield a 1.7 percent property tax increase for single-family homes — $95 for the average home assessed at $565,000. For the first time, town meeting voters will use secret, electronic ballots for the 55-article warrant. All financial spending items are approved by the Select Board and the Finance Committee.
Short-term rentals: Voters will decide whether to approve the town’s regulations for more than 100 residential properties listed by Airbnb and other online platforms for stays of 31 consecutive days or fewer. In order to weed out commercial operators, the bylaw prevents residences owned by a corporation other than an LLC from being marketed. It would not limit the total number of days per year that a property could be rented short term.
Wildlife bylaw: The bylaw forbids feeding or attracting bruins or other “nuisance wildlife species.” But, it’s not aimed at backyard bird feeders, unless they lure the growing local bear population.
Dog restraints: A proposal would revise the town’s current bylaw; requirements include ensuring that a dog is “under control” when not on the owner’s property. Hunting dogs are exempt.
Mosquito control: Voters will decide whether to join a majority of other Berkshire communities, including Pittsfield, in declining to participate in the Berkshire County Mosquito Spraying Program. Only 10 of 32 county towns and cities still take part.
Affordable housing: Adopting state law, residents could vote to establish the Stockbridge Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
Stockbridge Bowl: A formal Stewardship Commission is proposed to protect and preserve the lake, its watershed and ecosystem for future generations.
Right to Farm: The bylaw would adopt state laws encouraging the pursuit and promotion of agriculture-based economic opportunities and protection of farmlands, allowing uses and activities “with minimal conflict with abutters and town agencies.”
— Clarence Fanto, Eagle correspondent