Our Opinion: Waubeeka plan is given opportunity
There is no maintaining the status quo at Williamstown's Waubeeka Golf Links, which will decline or improve. There is now a real chance at considerable improvement.
Voters at Tuesday night's annual town meeting gave more than the two-thirds vote necessary for a zoning bylaw amendment permitting commercial development at the site. This allows developer Mike Deep to go forward with his planned construction of a country inn there.
After the Planning Board tied itself in knots on the plan, its fate was left to town meeting voters. Concerns were not entirely without foundation, and changing the word "unit" into "room" in the bylaw at the meeting eliminated a potential loophole. The footprint of the project had been reduced and while a conservation restriction remains, it allows uses that won't threaten the site and may enhance it.
The presence of the inn should enable the struggling golf course to become profitable, and the combination of the two will boost the town's tax base and economy. A failed golf course lying fallow and inviting a development project out of keeping with South Williamstown is an unappetizing prospect that will now be avoided.
There will surely be issues and debates going forward, but this laborious, tempestuous process has produced a project that should benefit the town economically while not harming it environmentally or aesthetically.