Letter: Honor hotel bylaw protecting Great Barrington

Posted
Honor hotel bylaw protecting Gr. Barr.

To the editor:

I'm writing from my temporary residence in Santa Ana Ca.,, which is saved by its predominant Mexican culture from being yet another black-topped generic non-paradise of malls, box stores and chains — the preservation of small town values still very much on my mind.

For many, the Searles School question in Great Barrington has centered around how much tax money a big chain hotel might generate. But no one has addressed how its presence might depress the property values, and therefore the tax revenue from the homes around it and possibly the entire town, which derives 80 percent of its income from property taxes. In fact it may already have done so, as I've heard of people holding off considering buying property in the East Street area until this question is decided.

It could have a negative impact on the surrounding towns as well, whose attractiveness depends in part on that of Great Barrington as a hub.

When the bylaw limiting hotel size was enacted, it was with the recognition that our small-town character is, to quote the Master Plan, our "money crop." Those of us who have already invested in this area did so with the understanding that the town would stand behind its duly enacted bylaws and Master Plan — not to speak of the other hoteliers who have honored the bylaw by not trying to find "loopholes" in it. I ask the Select Board to demonstrate, by its vote, that our confidence was not misplaced.

Carol Diehl, Housatonic Santa Ana, Ca.


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