Hotels needn't justify a 'need' to Selectmen
To the editor:
Odd that the Lenox Select Board feels the need to ask folks opening hotels within the town to justify the "need" for their project. Do they ask folks constructing mega-mansions to justify why they can live in opulence while so many are homeless? Did they ask Price Chopper to justify why we needed a new store when there is a Guido's and Stop & Shop within spitting distance? How about Berkshire Bank — why did it need another drive through when it already has one on Main Street and other banks exist nearby.
My question is this: if the land is properly zoned, and if the applicant is not looking for a variance, whose business is it on how the property owner chooses to spend their money? And if the owner is asking for relief from zoning laws, then the question is not whether or not this a good investment for the owner, but rather will variance from a particular zoning regulation be detrimental to the town as a whole?
There are many businesses within not only Lenox, but in every town, that I never go in to. But they represent somebody's hard work, capital investment and risk. If the businesses are allowed, I see no reason to question their "necessity." That seems to be code to protect existing businesses.
Maybe the Lenox Select Board feels the land planner is underworked and tasks like this justify this position in a town whose size generally does without such a person. Whatever the rationale, maybe they need to take a step back and ask themselves one simple question: If they wanted to make an investment and went through all the hoops to buy the right parcel, do all the engineering, get financing, and risk a significant sum on their project prior to securing all the permits — and answering all of the quantitative and objective measures; would they want all of those sunk costs to hinge on a group of five people deciding if they are using their money to do the right thing? I doubt it.