In Richmond: Safety fix for intersection; new rescue boat bought; pot spot rules in works


Safety upgrade planned at key intersection

Because of Richmond residents' concerns following a recent accident at the intersection of Lenox Branch and Lenox Road, the Richmond Select Board has asked Highway Superintendent Peter Beckwith to prepare recommendations for a solar-enabled warning sign, a flashing light or mirrors.

The shortcut over Lenox Mountain is heavily used by motorists from Richmond, West Stockbridge and Lenox as a connector to and from Tanglewood, Kripalu, Berkshire Country Day School and other destinations. But drivers heading up Lenox Branch Road from West Stockbridge have difficulty seeing oncoming traffic bound from Richmond to Lenox because of a protruding ledge on Lenox Road, just north of a stop sign at the potentially dangerous intersection, said Town Administrator Mark Pruhenski.

Blasting the ledge away would not only be challenging and costly but also would require a road closure lasting several weeks or longer. "We're trying to avoid that if we can," he said.

The most affordable, practical solution would be an LED flashing solar warning sign for traffic heading up Lenox Road from Richmond, Pruhenski suggested, since a flashing traffic light would require state Department of Transportation involvement.

Rescue boat purchased for Richmond Pond

The Richmond Fire Association's $18,000 rescue boat is expected to go into service following a training session for 20 of the department 32 volunteers on nearby Queechy Lake in Canaan, N.Y., on Aug. 16, said Fire Chief Steve Traver. The volunteer department raised the funds through donations from town residents.

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"Richmond Pond is getting crowded and, sooner or later, something's going to happen," he said. "It's a good investment." The lake is popular with shorefront residents and is used by Camp Russell.

A new fire truck is headed for the town by Sept. 1, Traver said, thanks to a $190,000 federal grant he obtained for the $222,000, 300-gallon mini-pumper. The remaining cost was funded by a town appropriation. The fire chief pointed out that the mini-pumper will be especially useful on many driveways in town that are inaccessible to the department's larger trucks, including a 3,000-gallon tanker.

Permanent marijuana regulations in progress

The Richmond Planning Board is crafting a zoning bylaw for adult-use retail marijuana and cultivation establishments, expected to be limited to the town's small commercial district at the post office. The bylaw is expected to be submitted to special town meeting voters on Oct. 30. A moratorium on recreational marijuana businesses expires on Dec. 31.

The board also is working on zoning rules for farm winery events at Hilltop Orchards & Furnace Brook Winery and at Balderdash Cellars winery. Two-thirds approval would be required by town meeting voters.

Public hearings on both issues will be scheduled in September following a review by Town Counsel Elisabeth Goodman of Cain Hibbard & Myers and by the Select Board.

— Clarence Fanto, Eagle correspondent


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