Letter: Great Barrington board must deny hotel special permit

Posted
GB board must deny hotel special permit

To the editor:

The Dec. 21 editorial ("Hotel project will benefit Great Barrington") is long on opinion, short on facts.

Firstly, the Searles School building is not a "crumbling ruin" as the editorial describes it. None other than noted engineer and expert in preservation, Robert Silman, has written to the Select Board and various publications testifying to its worthiness for rehabilitation.

Secondly, the building, as proposed, would not be "maintained" in accordance with the very specific guidelines of historic preservation, as specified by the bylaw, which was created to protect such landmarks — in this case, an outstanding example of classic design by the same architect who built the famous National Cathedral in Washington.

Thirdly, the projected tax revenue, now inflated by The Eagle, has been questioned. Note that any use of the building would bring in tax revenue. Further, if it degrades the property values of the homes around it, it could decrease town revenue. I wouldn't want to live within spitting distance of a chain hotel. Would you?

Further, the project does not honor the bylaws and Master Plan of the town as enacted by its citizens. It disregards the financial well-being of the existing hoteliers (which the bylaw was designed to protect) and extends a special favor to a single developer.

The Select Board's function is not to decide on the worthiness of this or that project, but to uphold the laws of the town as enacted by its citizens. I trust that the Board will do the honorable thing and deny the special permit.

Carol Diehl, Housatonic


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