City also condemns Capitol attack
A Main Street development proposal in Beacon appears close to receiving the special-use permit it needs from the City Council to build four floors, although the project must still get its final approval from the Planning Board.
The proposal, a mixed-use building at 416-420 Main St., was the subject of the first of two public hearings held by the council via videoconference on Tuesday (Jan. 19).
If approved, it would encompass the existing Kitchen & Coffee cafe, adding office space on the second and third floors and a single apartment on a recessed fourth floor. A two-story live/work residence would be built at the back of the parcel, with a public mini-park in between.
The council now requires Main Street projects seeking four floors to include at least one public benefit in exchange for the special-use permit; in this case, the park and office space would satisfy the condition.
In response to comments during a hearing last month, the developer’s representatives said Tuesday they had more than doubled the size of the park, to 4,231 square feet, and that it will feature a “rolling lawn” with low-maintenance “eco-grasses.” In addition, the live/work building has been reduced in size, and decorative plantings have been added along the perimeter of the proposed four-story building, which also includes a “green roof.”
Two residents spoke during the hearing Tuesday. Both also commented last month and continued to oppose the project.
The proposal is “unacceptable in both scale and design,” and its green space is deceptive, with only a third likely to be available to the public, said Theresa Kraft.
Council members, however, seemed pleased with the proposed changes during a workshop a week earlier.
“The public element of this is very strong, just looking at the open space component,” said Mayor Lee Kyriacou. “There are commercial floors, as well, but that seems like gravy.”
A second public hearing Tuesday focused on a proposal that would combine two laws adopted in 2018 and 2019 regulating wireless telecommunications facilities and small cell wireless units. The new law would also shift the approval of both to the Planning Board.
The Planning Board would be required to hold public hearings for all non-small cell wireless proposals but hearings would be optional for small cell units, the lower-powered antennas typically affixed to buildings or poles to fill gaps in broadband coverage.
Two residents who spoke during the hearing both said they felt the city was making too many concessions to the wireless industry.
The council on Tuesday adopted a resolution condemning the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol and supporting “all actions to ensure accountability for those inciting and conducting the attack.” The accused rioters include a resident of Beacon.
Several council members spoke before voting on the resolution, saying it does not condemn any political party or seek to suppress the constitutional right to protest, but that the attack on the Capitol and Congress was far over the line.
“I recognize we are a lowly city council and we should rarely take stands on national issues, but I feel it’s my obligation under my oath of office to do so tonight,” Kyriacou said.