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Letter: Historical perspective

Underscoring Tip O’Neill’s classic observation that “all politics is local,” Chris Collins opines in his Valentine’s Day column that “Those who believe that the current Greenfield Town Council is in Albert Norman’s back pocket got a big piece of ammunition this week.” He then reports that the “sprawl-buster” made “a series of revisions” to a draft version of the Greenfield Conservation Commission’s wetlands protection ordinance.

Collins’ statement lacks historical context. A little research reveals that if you go back three years in time when the Planning Board had finished its deliberations on the French King Highway big box store, all that remained was to write up its decision on granting a special permit. That task included the “participation” of the developer Ceruzzi Inc. of Fairfield, Conn.

In the spring of 2011, Ceruzzi’s Boston lawyers submitted a decision of more than 20 pages that they wrote to the town’s planner, who then presented it to the Planning Board as a town-produced document. The PB reviewed Ceruzzi’s draft, made some minor edits and then voted to approve it.

In essence, Ceruzzi wrote its own permit conditions. Those who believed that the Greenfield Town Council was in Ceruzzi’s back pocket three years ago got a big piece of ammunition when learning that the developer was able to shape the conditions of its own “special permit.”

The wetlands ordinance under review on which Mr. Norman submitted his own comments pales in comparison to the weight the special permit has in whatever the final determination the town finally arrives at about permitting a big box store.


Shelburne Falls

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