Welcome to Williamstown Newshare

Williamstown Welcome to
A low-tech hub for information about Williamstown's future

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever does."--Margaret Mead
This web page is provided as a public service by Williamstown Citizens for Informed Decisions, an ad-hoc group formed to provide factual information and analysis about civic issues. If you want to suggest a link for addition to this page, email waterline@newshare.com.


Water line bond fails in round two
Final tally 634 yes, 482 no -- 2/3rds needed

  • (POSTED 12-02-04)
    By a margin of more than 100 votes, Williamstown voters on Thursday defeated for the second time in a month a proposed $3.4 million water-line extension seen as key to two major developments. Because the bond issue required a two-thirds vote, it failed 634-482, at the largest turnout at a town meeting in recent history, getting only 58% of the vote.
    Supporters argued the bond issue -- actuallly an $875,000 appropriation for the town's share of the 16-inch water main project along a scenic portion of U.S. Route 7 in South Williamstown -- was needed by an art museum and a health-care consortium and would provide education programming and a solid source of water to the high school next door. Opponents argued the water line would create the risk of sprawl-type development when the town's master plan called for directed growth in the center of town instead. They argued the school had other water alternatives.
    After the vote, Clark Art Institute officials said they would abandon the development partnership with Northern Berkshire Health Systems and would instead construct an addition to the Williamstown Regional Art Conservation Center on land the Clark already owns. The hospital system said it would go back to the drawing boards to engineer a new expansion for its 68-unit Sweetwood Continuing Care retirement complex which can rely upon existing wells for water.
    Analysis showed line would have cost taxpayers $860,000;
    well water and water tank seen as the cheaper option

  • A Williams College professor's financial analysis concludes taxpayers will save money by installing a water tank at Mount Greylock Regional High School -- and continuing to use well water -- rather than approve a water-line bond issue on Thursday. Heather Williams finds the expense of financing the water line would be $860,000 more than new revenue from water-usage fees it generates.
    State loan analysis / Muni bond analysis

    Municipal bond expert cites legal problems with waterline issue

  • A retired municipal-bond finance expert who lives adjacent to Mount Greylock high school says Thursday's langugage for a water-line bond may be legally flawed. And William Pinakiewicz says voters should not be expected to give the town's commitment to pay until the Clark and NBHS and the "anonymous donor" put their commitments in escrow. READ TRANSCRIPT STORY

    Clark-drilled test well may be new school water source?

  • A citizen-group opposed to a new water line on Route 7 says Mount Greylock Regional High School may have a good source of water in its backyard. So called "Well No. 2" yielded "abundant flow" in the range of 10-15 gpm when tested. In a statement, Williamstown Citizens for Informed Decisions is calling for complete testing of the well. (PDF VERSION).

    Four of five planning board members opposed waterline

  • Four of five members of the Williamstown board charged with worring about planning, zoning and the town's future are reportedly opposed to the Cold Spring water line, it was reported Tuesday. The North Adams Transcript also said there is controversy over how their opposition became known. READ THE ARTICLE(posted 11-30-04; 10:25 p.m.)

    Town made public erroneous documents about well-test locations

  • The town released erroneous documents showing all tests for perchlorate were drawn from inside Mount Greylock high school. In fact, some recent tests were done at the wellheads, according to a spokesman for Berkshire Envirolabs, the testing outfit. Williams Professor Prof. David Richardson and two colleagues are offering to execute a conclusive study immediately. Read Prof. David Richardson's statement developed before the town's error was made public. / (PDF VERSION).

    Waterline supporters offer "FAQ"

  • Supporters of the waterline extension bond issue, including school board member Ralph Bradburd, have provided their version of a Frequently Asked Questions" document, as well as an accompanying PDF chart. (posted 11-29-04; 3:30 p.m.)

    Environmental study of waterline options needed, Jorling says

  • A Williamstown resident who served as a top environmental official in both Washington and Albany, N.Y. -- and also as a Williamstown selectman -- says its time to study options to the CSR waterline. Read The Advocate's Nov. 24 interview with Thomas Jorling as well as a Nov. 21 letter request to the town. / (PDF VERSION)

    Sweetwood water offer to MGRHS conditioned on "long-term solution"

  • Mount Greylock Regional High School can't count on getting well water from its Sweetwood neighbor -- unless voters approve a waterline bond issue or another "long-term" solution is found to make the school's water safe again. "Without a definitive long-term plan in place to address the high school's on-going water issue, NBH's offer of a short-term water connection would need to be revisited," said Paul Hopkins, a spokesman for Northern Berkshire Health Systems. The hospital didn't say what a "long-term plan" could consist of, but it said it still urged voters to approve the bond issue. (posted 12:30 a.m., 11-25-04)

    Branchick plans to "vote conscience" on Dec. 2

  • The director of the Williamstown Regional Art Conservation Center says he and his staff plan to vote their consciences at the Dec. 2 waterline special town meeting. In a Nov. 24 letter to The Advocate newsweekly, Thomas J. Branchick also clarifies the WRACC's role.

    Clark, hospital still on board

  • In letters made public on Tuesday by the town, the Clark Art Institute and Northern Berkshire Health Systems reaffirm their commitment to build on Phelps Knoll if voters resurrect a failed $875,000 bond issue on Dec. 2 (see links to letters below) (Posted 11-23-04; 10:30 p.m.)
    Clark letter 11-20-04 / Northern Berkshire Health Systems letter, 11-19-04


    Summary handbill

  • NEW! -- Why vote no? It's not free and seven other reasons -- NEW -- posted 12-02-04 6:35 a.m. / PDF VERSION / / MSWORD VERSION /


    White Paper on high school, waterline options
  • A "white paper" from Williamstown Citizens for Informed Decisions (updated 11-28-04, 8 p.m.) (SCREEN VERSION)
  • A "white paper" from Williamstown Citizens for Informed Decisions (updated 11-30-04, 8:00 a.m.) (PDF DOWNLOAD VERSION)
  • A "white paper" from Williamstown Citizens for Informed Decisions (updated 11-29-04, 10:30 a.m.) (MSWORD DOWNLOAD VERSION)

    Background briefing sources for white paper

  • Case law suggests Water line will "break" 2.5-acre zoning (PDF DOWNLOAD)
    (also see letters, below)
  • Residential development costs taxpayers, Gardner says (PDF DOWNLOAD)
  • Best argument against waterline is economic, Planning Board found (PDF DOWNLOAD)
  • A short history of the Cold Spring Road sewer line (PDF DOWNLOAD)
  • Chemist worries sewer line may not handle flow from 16-inch water main (PDF DOWNLOAD)

    Mount Greylock RHS water options

  • "No. 2" well in school backyard may be option, group says
  • A citizen's alternative view of school's water options (PDF DOWNLOAD)

    . . . Photo locator of wells / (PDF VERSION-800K)
  • Test wells could be enhanced with hydrofracturing, geoscientist says (PDF DOWNLOAD)
  • Official statement from Mount Greylock school board on "water options" (PDF DOWNLOAD ONLY)

    What is perchlorate? How can it be taken care of?

  • EPA Tests Find Rocket Fuel in Nation's Milk, Lettuce (Greenwatch Today, 12-01-04)
  • What is percholorate? A Williams chemist explains standards (PDF DOWNLOAD)
  • Filtering option for MGRHS wells is proven technology (PDF DOWNLOAD)
  • Recent news stories about perchlorate
  • Sweetwood well test revealed perchlorate
  • Mass. Dept. of Environmental Protection percholorate information website

    Town of Williamstown official resources

  • Link to official Town of Williamstown water-line document website(mostly PDFs)

    Project-proponent resources

  • Clark Art and hospital system reaffirm commitment despite Nov. 2 "no" vote (LARGE FILE DOWNLOADS)
  • Clark Art "well exploration factsheet" -- 11-17-04
  • Clark Art statement about water alternatives" -- 11-17-04
  • NBHS's announcement of sale of $27 million in HFEA bonds -- 07-22-04


    Online forum by Williamstown's Brainspiral Technologies
  • Link to Online Forum for citizen posting of comments and information about water.

    Letters to the Editor and to the Webmaster

  • Feasible options for MGRHS water -- Andy Hogeland
  • "Lessons from the past" -- Moomaw, 11-29-04 / PDF VERSION
  • Would waterline really break zoning?" -- Thier, 11-29-04
  • Clark Greylock billed as major tourist destination -- Rogers, 11-30-04 / PDF VERSION

    This website maintained by Bill Densmore, 458-8001