Letter: No conflict of interest in Stockbridge actions

Posted

To the editor:

I would not generally respond to a letter (May 15) opposing my candidacy, because I believe in people being free to express themselves. However, I do not believe that that right extends to incorrect statements.

For instance, I am neither an abutter nor live adjacent to, the old DeSisto property. While I am a neighbor, I do not have a conflict of interest in hearing issues regarding that property, should they come before the Planning Board, on which I now sit and to which I seek election. But, as a factual matter, under our zoning bylaws, any request for a special permit to develop that property or the several other so called Cottage Era Estates, would be heard by the Select Board and not the Planning Board and thus my residence is not an issue.

Second, the PILOT committee was created by the Select Board to investigate the advisability of asking the numerous not-for-profits in Stockbridge to voluntarily contribute either money or other value to the town in lieu of taxes. I sit on the Board of Advisors of the BSO and I am a former trustee of the Berkshire Theatre Group and The Colonial Theatre Association, so I know full well the enormous value these and other not-for-profits provide to Stockbridge and the Berkshires generally. Indeed my membership on the PILOT committee, in part, is to express the point of view of these institutions and the other not-for-profits, to ensure a more balanced approach by the committee.

Although any ultimate contribution may be relatively small, since such a large percentage of Stockbridge is occupied by not-for-profits, it is not an unworthy goal to seek to obtain voluntary contributions from those entities while recognizing their great contributions to the community.

Stuart Hirshfield,

Stockbridge

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