Plan for 4-story buildings in Lee stirs deep divisions

(Hannah Shirley) Residents will vote on a proposed zoning bylaw that would allow four-story buildings in Lee’s downtown area.

LEE — Residents will vote on a proposed zoning bylaw change at Lee’s annual town meeting that would allow four-story buildings in the downtown area.

A public hearing for the proposed warrant item was held Monday. Local developers Michael Charles and Brian Cohan of Lenox-based Benchmark Development appealed to voters to consider the bylaw change, which would be necessary for them to move forward with their proposed mixed-use development at the site of the old Price Chopper on West Park Street.

“We’re really just trying to get to the plate,” Charles said. “Without modest adjustment, we would not be able to apply.”

While the hearing wasn’t for the Price Chopper development, that seemed to be the draw for many attendants, who filled the town’s former courtroom Monday evening. The proposed two-building development would include commercial space in addition to 80 market-rate apartments, which would be available for rental rates between $1,400 and $2,000 per month and would come with roughly one parking spot per unit, Charles said.

Those in support of the project said the opportunity to bring more people into downtown Lee to patronize local restaurants and businesses was too good to pass up.

Those against it worried about the losing architectural character of the classic New England downtown and the traffic congestion with hundreds of more cars on the road.

For the rest of the story, subscribe to the Record at

You must be logged in to post a comment Login