Freed from Pittsfield’s hotel wars, developer Joseph Toole has won approval for his hotel proposal in Lenox. The concerns raised were legitimate, but on balance the Courtyard by Marriott at Brushwood Farms should benefit Lenox.
Members of the Zoning Board of Appeals, which voted unanimously Wednesday night to grant special permits for the project, had concerns about the hotel’s appearance and height, as well as the danger of further homogenizing the Route 7 and 20 commercial zone. Mr. Toole responded to concerns about the original design by returning with a new and improved one, and the hotel’s high point of 48 feet, while 13 feet over the town’s height limit, is below the 50-foot limit under which the ZBA can grant extensions. Frankly, not much can be done to make the 7/20 corridor look worse, and the new hotel could be distinctive enough to make it look better.
The owner of the Brushwood Farms site, June Hashim, could have done far worse with a generic retail chain store. In contrast, a hotel is in keeping with Lenox’s traditional role as a tourist destination, and providing good accommodations for visitors will help assure that tourists keep coming to town -- and to the Berkshires.