Letter: Great Barrington hotel will have dire consequences

GB hotel will have dire consequences

To the editor:

I respectfully request that the Select Board vote against the special permit for the proposed hotel. A vote against is consistent with the purpose of the bylaw at issue, and the bylaw specifically determined that should the Searles School be converted into a hotel it is not intended to exceed the 45-room limit.

If the plan is permitted, the hotel will have dire consequences to residential neighbors across the street. This River Walk Victorian, sweetheart of a neighborhood will suffer air pollution, noise and stink from HVAC systems, generators, garbage, and hotel/restaurant delivery trucks. The hotel will generate 100 additional vehicles to an existing Bridge St. traffic back up to East Street during tourist season. Alternatively, trucks and cars will snake through narrow residential streets behind the library significantly altering the peaceful character of same.

The building is visible from bedroom windows, front and back yards and if turned into a massive Hotel, residential property values will fall. Who will compensate owners for the lost value of their homes?

What the hotel won't do: the "30 full-time job equivalent" employment projection is code for 75 low-paid part-time employees who won't receive benefits, overtime, or cause for dismissal! That amounts to an employment disappointment for our community.

Attorney McCormick's claim that the proposed hotel is a commercial use consistent with abutters doesn't negate the fact that it is disproportionately sized, dwarfing abutting businesses including Railroad Street Youth Project; Green & Clark Architects; dental offices on Church and Pleasant Streets and the COOP Market. It also appears to be three times larger than Jane Iredale's headquarters situated on the same campus.

She also claims that the project will not use town services. Surely the hotel has access to ambulance, police, fire, road maintenance, water, ER and other essential services like everyone else.

None of the renderings presented showed positioning of the promised solar panels. On which roof(s) will they be installed?

I thank Chrystal and Vijay for carefully listening to community feedback and incorporating new ideas into their second plan. May they find a more suitable location where their vision complies with local rules, and may Great Barrington citizens find a way to repurpose this stately building in a manner that addresses our housing shortage and other pressing community needs.

Eve Schatz, Great Barrington The writer is a member of the Great Barrington Neighborhood Group opposing the project.


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