To the editor of THE EAGLE:
This letter is in response to a recent article regarding the proposed change in use of the Williamsville Inn in West Stockbridge to a short-term, for-profit substance abuse treatment facility for adolescents. We represent a group of 70+ abutters and neighbors of the property. We are united in our opposition to the plan.
Because many of us have spent our professional lives working with young people in therapeutic and educational settings, we're sympathetic to the need for such facilities, as well as options for our own youth. But we do not believe the Williamsville Inn to be an appropriate site, whether for the wealthy teens that the center would cater to or the Medicaid recipients Clay Lifflander promises not to serve. (With tuition of nearly $250,000 for six months, the proposed center is also clearly not designed to serve locals.)
A major concern would be increased traffic. The inn's 10-acre lot is bordered immediately to the east by a dangerous stretch of Route 41. Over the past decade, many accidents -- some fatal -- have occurred in the immediate vicinity of the inn. The hamlet of Williamsville is a 100 percent residential, close knit place. The proposed facility, with non-resident ownership, would have a staff of 40 and a turnover of over 70 young residents per year, requiring regular deliveries, translating to an enormous increase in traffic.
The inn really operated on a seasonal basis. The associated traffic and noise were modest. A few employees assisted the resident owners, and there were a handful of weddings in the summer, for which neighbors received advance notice. The owners were integrated members of our community.
The dramatic change from operation of a seasonal inn to a year-round, for-profit treatment center will have an adverse effect on our neighborhood, is not in keeping with the history of the place, and will negatively impact the safety of everyone involved.
SHEELA AND JIM CLARY
KRISTIN AND JON
SUSAN AND BRUCE BERGER
The letter was also signed by David Levin Sharon and Irving Picard, Robert and Suzanne Werner, Liza Hewat, Susan Weinberg, Nancy and Leo Goldberger, Ellen and Leonard Tabs, Carter and Carol White, Hellmut and Alice Wohl, Stephanie and Robert Gittleman, Dr. Alan and Susan Weinstein, Julie Michaels, Serge Pinto, Julie and Glenn Jackson, Mary and Peter Kornman, Mary Rivers, Cecily Patton and Gerald Elias, Abby and Larry Pratt, Jean and Max Stackhouse, Rona Olzman, Carol and Barry Beyer, Matt and Tessa Wohl and Gay Tucker, all of West Stockbridge