Hollow arguments.

At the meeting, there are a number of other documents that have been submitted by attorney’s for each side. I’ll try to post those soon.


This evening, at 6:30pm there will be a site visit to the parking lot of the Hollow Fields BNRC preserve followed by a meeting of the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA). A few of the neighbors ( Jeffrey and Linda Caligari, Jeffrey and Jennifer Morse, and Ira and Jami Grossman) regarding the use of land by the Berkshire Natural Resources, Inc. off of Perry’s Peak Road.) on Perry’s Peak Road are appealing a decision by Richmond’s zoning enforcement officer. The crux is that the neighbors are unhappy with the “undue traffic and congestion” at the increasingly popular hiking destination. When the small parking lot fills up, hikers park their vehicles on the side of the road, turn around in their driveways, etc. Understandably, the neighbors view this as an annoyance. And, BNRC has done what they can to minimize the problems — installing signage advising visitors to try another time is the lot is full.

The legal bit? An argument is being made that allowing people to walk, hang-out, hunt, etc. on your property is not something that is permitted in this town because, if your property is zoned RA-C, that kinda thing ain’t specifically allowed.

Perry’s Peak Road is in a residential (RA-C) zoning district. BNRC uses their land off Perry’s Peak Road for a non-residential use: they have opened their land up for the public to hike, hunt and generally recreate. Simply put, BNRC is in violation of the By-law because they have no permit to conduct this non-residential use in a residential district. Feb 12th letter from attorney representing the neighbors

Of course, this is a very hollow argument. Imagine if your neighbors filed a complaint with the town saying you couldn’t invite your friends over to hang-out on your property. You’d be outraged. In this case, BNRC is the owner and I personally believe BNRC can invite whomever they want to invite, whenever they want to, as long as it isn’t for a commercial use or runs afoul of some other ordinance (like the noise bylaw). They aren’t selling tickets for goodness sake!

Copy of the zoning appeal:

Visitors should always be on their best behavior and be respectful of others.

And, if visitors are trespassing on neighbors property — that’s wrong — and could be prosecuted as trespassing (but still not a zoning issue).  If the visitors are parking illegally, they could be ticketed and towed. But that’s not a zoning issue either.

The limited parking lot capacity is a very real problem and will take a concerted effort to resolve. And, similar problems are happening with other super popular hiking spots. For example, the Olivia’s overlook parking lot is often full and overflowing — with cars parking along the side of the road. I don’t know what the solutions to these are, but I certainly don’t want to see all our passive recreation sites closed by annoyed neighbors.

Meanwhile, tonight at town hall, expensive lawyers on both sides will be arguing about what residential zoning allows and prohibits.

If you are a friend of Hollow Fields, please attend!  The meeting is at 7pm at town hall and on zoom. Agenda is available here.

Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 881 3470 2413
Passcode: 345946
Phone 1 646 558 8656 US (New York)

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