Look Ahead, Pittsfield: PCB contamination, parking problems and fireworks on display

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This week kicks off with a Monday holiday and winds down with a bang.

In other words, Presidents Day on Monday means a day off from work (for many) and also free downtown parking. And on Saturday, there's going to be 10 minutes of fireworks starting 6 p.m. at The Common.

On the City Hall side of things, here are some things to look out for.

The City Council's Committee on Public Health and Safety is scheduled to review air and groundwater samplings from the area surrounding Building 71 and Hill 78, two landfills near Allendale Elementary School that contain PCB-contaminated soils from the General Electric Co. Elevated groundwater samples stirred council fears in September, but officials with the Environmental Protection Agency have said the contamination is not close enough to occupied buildings to pose a threat.

That meeting is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday in Council Chambers.

A new restaurant on Pontoosuc Lake, The Proprietor's Lodge, will ask the Community Development Board this week to approve a parking waiver allowing for continued development of the site. The ownership plans to add a lakeside wedding platform.

Neighbors are already unhappy about new traffic in the area, and so the city considers the parking waiver against that backdrop. The meeting is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Ralph J. Froio Senior Center.

The board also will consider new regulations that would prevent large-scale solar developments from moving into residential neighborhoods. City Hall proposed the new ordinance to ward off the kind of controversy that surrounded a now-defunct solar development proposed for Pontoosuc Lake Country Club.

The Conservation Commission will be asked this week to approve a drawdown along the West Branch of the Housatonic River to buoy progress on the Mill Street Dam. The aging piece of infrastructure, also known as the Tel-Electric Dam, is slated for removal this summer.

On the marijuana front

A marijuana retailer will seek a special permit this week from the Zoning Board of Appeals. The retailer, operating under the corporate name Pittsfield Investment Group, is looking to open for recreational marijuana sales at 531 Dalton Ave.

If approved, the shop would be the ninth cannabis store to get a green light from the city. The city's first shop opened last month, and another is scheduled to open doors to the adult public within the next few weeks.

Heads up

We can expect Mayor Linda Tyer to make an announcement this week about a new program she's launching to support homeowners looking to perk up slouching residences.

Speaking of sprucing — have ideas for how to make Tyler Street Lab more inviting and functional as a community space? The lab is accepting creative submissions this week.

The 10x10 Upstreet Arts Festival continues this week, as well, bringing art and performances to venues around the city, including the Saturday fireworks display. For a full schedule of events, visit discoverpittsfield.com.

A new group called Pittsfield Prospers is launching this week, 4 p.m. Wednesday at The Proprietor's Lodge. The aim of the organization is to promote positive messaging about our city in the woods.

What's up in Pittsfield? Ping me via email at adrane@berkshireeagle.com, or by phone at 413-496-6296. Catch me on Twitter @amandadrane.

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