Letter: NIMBYism should not block good Elm Court plan
To the editor of THE EAGLE:
Most of the stated positions against the proposed restoration and development of the Elm Court Estate are exactly the type of arguments that were made when people objected to the Stone Hill and Bishop Estates developments. Both turned out to be exactly as the developer promised they would be done.
As for the objections due to traffic problems, many of us remember the adamant opposition to the relocation of the Norman Rockwell Museum. Its primary opposition was that it would create traffic congestion and dramatically decrease the safety of those traveling on the narrow, rural, winding road with some obstructed views of the road ahead. As has been well substantiated, museum traffic -- which in 2012, saw 124,776 visitors, not including employees -- has created zero traffic problems along that road.
It should also be noted that another venue, Kripalu, has no traffic safety problems while having as many as 620 employees and up to 625 guests per night. The traffic for the Rockwell Museum and Kripalu is substantially more than even the most generous estimate of the total traffic in and out of Elm Court.
As for jobs; it is interesting that the wealthy people conducting this campaign demean the various new jobs as being beneath the dignity of working people. From casual observation and actual experience, many people would welcome the opportunity to be employed at this private business which will include wages at various levels, and which will add more than $500,000 in tax income to the towns of Stockbridge and Lenox. This additional tax revenue will help offset the many nonprofits in our towns who pay no taxes.
Had these people who object to this project been around back in the 1930s, they would have opposed the development of Tanglewood for the same reasons we are hearing today regarding a much smaller Elm Court project. Had they prevailed then, we would not now have the anchor of the 19,000 second homes of people from all over the country who help maintain our beautiful small towns without the additional burden of educating their children in our schools.
The Elm Court project will bring substantially less traffic than the Tanglewood traffic, and will be spread out over 12 months instead of over a brief 21Ž2-month span. Most of our businesses and citizens are thankful for the presence and spending prowess of our cultural friends who visit Tanglewood, and will be similarly so with the visitors who come to Elm Court.
Finally, with regard to this project being too large, how can that be substantiated when the overall footprint of the proposed buildings will occupy a small amount of the total property, thereby keeping the majority of it just as it is today. With the new buildings being located behind and below the existing Elm Court Estate building, which will be beautifully restored, the beautiful vistas to and from the property will be maintained.
When you review the facts of what this project entails, there seems to be no reason other than the term NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) to accurately describe the emotional, fear-mongering opposition to what years from now, will be as well accepted and appreciated as the Red Lion Inn, Cranwell Resort, Canyon Ranch Resort and Blantyre Estate are today. Hopefully the Selectmen of Stockbridge and Lenox will approve this project and let Travaasa Experiential Resorts get on with improving our local economy in a most tasteful manner.
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