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Editorial: Watch out for Stillwater parking

Brief thoughts on some of the events making news from around Franklin County and the North Quabbin:

We expect that it will be a busy summer for the Deerfield Police Department around the Stillwater Bridge, now that the available parking has been reduced. TransCanada Corp., which owns part of the Deerfield River bank along Stillwater Road, is moving its guardrails to the edge of the road, thus eliminating parking that the utility didn’t sanction to begin with. That means the remaining available parking on land managed by the Department of Fish and Game will be jammed and people will undoubtedly try to find other places to park, including leaving cars more in the road than off it. Last year, it cost police — and therefore Deerfield’s taxpayers — in the neighborhood of $10,000 to deal with issues in the area. We suspect that the cost will be higher this year. A discussion about raising parking fines there may be in order.

Loosening the construction cap in Northfield

We see sense in easing the town’s growth restriction bylaw and think voters should agree to make the change at the May 6 annual town meeting. The current bylaw was enacted, in part, as a reaction to uncertainty involving the property that once was a campus for Northfield Mount Hermon. While the future of the property is still unknown, backers of this change in the restrictions say the rules are having an impact on new construction — there haven’t been any applications since the limit of six dwellings (divided by three different developers) was put in place. What’s been proposed is allowing 12 dwellings per year and a limit of six projects by one applicant. We don’t think that the change will mean Northfield will be overrun by development. But it may be enough to spur some building that could help the community.

Precinct 5: Don’t forget to vote Tuesday

Precinct 5 residents in Greenfield should head to the polls at the Grange on Tuesday to cast their ballots in the preliminary election for a Town Council seat. The vote will place two of the three candidates — John Lyford, Penny Ricketts and Rob Wainstein — in the June general election. A large turnout would tell the candidates and the rest of Greenfield that the neighborhood is interested in who represents them on the council. Also, it will be one of the few times where there won’t be any parking problems when voting!

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