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The West Stockbridge Board issues recreational permits to foundries, but with conditions.south berkshire

Amy Brentano speaking at the podium

Amy Brentano of West Stockbridge Foundry will speak at a special permit hearing this fall. On Monday she got that clearance from the Planning Commission.

WEST STOCKBRIDGE — After weeks of public debate, on Monday the West Stockbridge Planning Commission granted foundries new special permits to host music events, provided sound levels are monitored and kept within limits. gave.

The Foundry owner Amy Brentano explained the conditions were tough, but expressed relief and said she hopes to resume operations in early 2023.

The decision is a setback for Truc Nguyen, owner of nearby restaurant Truc Orient Express. Nguyen has repeatedly stated that excessive noise from the venue harms her business. After the board vote, she declined to comment.

The decision ended more than 10 hours of lively debate over five public hearings.During Monday’s session, board chair Dana Bixby used a gavel to quiet a ramshackle debate, including an example of a speaker disrespecting others. The audience applauded.

Truc Nguyen speaking on the podium

Truc Nguyen, owner of the Truc Orient Express restaurant in West Stockbridge, will speak at the hearing in August 2021.

A filing by The Foundry revealed divisions within the community, with people supporting both Brentano and Nguyen.

The question of how to measure noise levels has consumed hours of debate late this fall. Citizens were asked by the Planning Commission to vote for or against the grant of permits.

The conditions set by the commission are stricter than last year’s special permit.

This permission allows The Foundry to continue offering the same program, including “live music of all genres.”

All conditions were supported by at least four members of the five Boards. Member Gunnar Gudmunson asked for an opportunity to review permissions in case of problems, but to no avail.

Brentano must monitor noise levels using properly calibrated equipment at all performances and keep them within the boundaries set by permits. This includes outdoor acoustic measurements at the Harris Street property line.

From April to October, The Foundry can host up to four outdoor events on non-consecutive days with time slots between 10am and dusk. These events should be monitored to ensure noise levels are within limits.

“All set-ups of outdoor sound equipment shall be made such that sound is directed away from residential neighbors and sound reflections are positioned away from residential neighbors.” says.

If a violation of the terms of the permit is alleged, the foundry must provide written evidence of the monitoring results to the Town Zoning Enforcer within 48 hours.

This rule does not apply to outdoor amplified music held at the West Stockbridge Farmers Market on land known as Foundry Green.

Aside from the sound issue, the Foundry should take “reasonable steps” to control parking and prevent “parking violations” on nearby premises.

If The Foundry is sold, the special permit expires. One condition states that this only applies to the operation of the venue by Brentano.

About 50 people attended Monday’s hearing, with another 25 joining via Zoom.

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