Video: June 26 Planning Board Meeting Discusses Hospital Hill, Citizens’ Advisory Committee, Northampton Soccer Club

Here is a video of the last 59 minutes from the June 26 meeting of Northampton’s Planning Board. A discussion of lighting standards for gas stations is followed by a longer discussion of evolutions at Hospital Hill (Kollmorgen Electro-Optical proposes to locate an expanded plant there). At the end is a brief discussion of local soccer clubs and compliance with traffic restrictions at the Oxbow.

Video Highlights

Discussing a lighting plan for a gas station on Easthampton Road

  • The board is concerned about excessive exterior lighting that goes beyond the requirements of safety. Commercial establishments might be tempted to indulge in such lighting to call more attention to their business.

Discussion of changes to Planning Board bylaws and rules

Minutes from past meetings approved

Discussion of evolutions at Hospital Hill (Village Hill) with respect to Kollmorgen’s proposed new plant and other changes

  • “The project still has to meet all the design guidelines.”
  • “There’s a lot of components that definitely have to come back to you.”
  • “If they meet the design guidelines, you’re limited to finding they meet the design guidelines. If they don’t meet the design guidelines, then anything goes.”
  • “Soon as the Kollmorgen thing starts, we’re going to have a packed house…”
  • (42:21) “The thing about the CAC is that it’s the kind of committee that sort of gradually increases because there’s 15 people. Most of them have very narrow views. One of them represents mental health, one of them represents housing, and they don’t care about the project as a whole. All they care about is their own special thing. It’s not particularly great if you want to reach a consensus about stuff.”
  • “I’m not necessarily opposed to Kollmorgen or any big, industrial type thing up there, I just want it to be done in a way that meets the village concept.”
  • “Conceptually, it’s OK with the CAC.”
  • “I was surprised it happened without us knowing about it.”
  • “My feeling is it’s going to be like an armed camp up there, and I think it would be really desirable for them to design it so that they didn’t feel that the parking lot had to be secure; could be a little bit more of a village walking places.”

Discussion of soccer teams’ compliance with parking and traffic conditions at the Oxbow

  • “I want to be able to hear the soccer club defend themselves.”
  • “I get the impression we came down on the soccer club like a ton of bricks, and…they didn’t know about the hearing… At least they should have their day in court, so to speak.”
  • “…I think the Northampton Soccer Club is doing a good job, Western United not so much.”

See also:

Northampton Redoubt: Village Hill Notice of Project Change public comments due July 1, 2008
[Mike Kirby and Wendy Sinton write,] “When you look at the revised master plan, (copies available at Northampton Planning Dept and Forbes Library) you will see that this building is right on Prince St. and that it is fronted by a 450 car parking lot, also right on Prince St. As Ben Spencer said in a recent op-ed,
the proposed building on this glorious river-view site represents a unique opportunity. The proposed siting plan is in no way unique. The proposed building is a very large rectangle. It is standard, it looks like New Jersey office parks, it looks like So. Calf. office parks, made for car drivers.”

Valley Advocate: Northampton: No “Village” at Hospital Hill (6/12/08)
The footprint of Kollmorgen’s proposed development (130,000 square feet), though, will take up more than half of the allotted industrial space, biting right into the juiciest real estate and changing everything. With the vote, the new road has been eliminated from the plan…

Kollmorgen’s relocation effectively ends the fantasy of anything remotely village-like emerging on the hill. Rather than a church steeple at the crossroads of this New England hamlet, there will be a tower for constructing periscopes surrounded by barbed wire.

Valley Advocate: “Meet the Hospital Hill CAC” (6/19/08)
The Citizen’s Advisory Committee was created in 1993 by Beacon Hill legislators to find a development solution that would address as many local concerns as possible. The legislation stated that the committee would have no more than 15 members, and those members should include: “two members … [from] the Alliance for the Mentally Ill of western Massachusetts, two … [from] the Northampton Development Corporation, two … [from] the Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce, and … at least one member from each of the following: the Northampton Labor Council, the Northampton Housing Partnership, the Northampton planning board, the mayor of the city of Northampton, the Valley Community Development Corporation, the Hampshire Community Action Commission, the Commissioner of the Department of Mental Health or his designee, the City Council Industry Committee of the city of Northampton, and the Franklin/Hampshire Private Industry Council.”

Advocate: What’s in a Name? The decision to change the name of
Northampton’s Hospital Hill bespeaks the same fear and prejudice
against mental illness that drove Victorian activists to build the
hospital in the first place

Video: Planning Board Sharpens Up Parking Recommendations for Oxbow Soccer Fields (5/8/08)