Letter: Miraval puts out not welcome mat

Miraval puts out not welcome mat

To the editor:

After attending the August 29 meeting at Lenox Town Hall, I came away with the feeling that Miraval's message is that local residents will not be welcome behind its electric gates. Its plan is to build an exclusive and expensive "wellness" resort. Access would be for residents who live on the grounds of Cranwell, members and guests of the resort.

Miraval's representative was not forthcoming with information as to the costs of membership, use of the golf course, or use of the spa facilities. According to the company's plan, discounts would be given to some. However without knowing "the suggested retail price" discounts are meaningless.

This resort will have a negative impact on the local economy and on our real estate values. The renters and owners that summer here as well as full-time residents patronize local businesses. Visitors are attracted to this area not only for its cultural venues but also for Cranwell, which affords golf and spa activities. Membership is available to all and others pay on a per diem basis.

Miraval doesn't seem to welcome such clientele. Most likely guests to Miraval will valet their cars and immerse themselves in doing whatever one does at such a resort to increase their wellness. (Their will be no self-parking.) They won't be venturing into the towns to patronize local businesses. I don't see that Miraval will contribute anything to our community nor will it welcome those of us who live here. To most, membership will probably not be affordable.

There was no mention of how long the construction will take should the zoning board allow Miraval to proceed. It is planning to build several new buildings as well as demolishing existing others and replacing them with new ones. The company will be building a parking lot for many, many cars. Will it take months, years to do so? For how long will the Cranwell property be disrupted by the planned construction? Will facilities be usable during construction?

The next meeting is tentatively planned for Sept. 26. I urge people who care about our community to attend. The zoning board should think twice before granting Miraval permission to proceed.

Additionally, I would hope that the microphones will be working so we can hear what everyone says. This was not the case at the August 29 meeting.

Beth Gott, Lenox


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