Williamsville Inn neighbors opposed to treatment center plan hire lawyer
WEST STOCKBRIDGE -- Opposition is coalescing to the proposed development of a residential treatment center for teens at the former Williamsville Inn.
A group of abutters have hired a lawyer and plan to voice their opposition during a June 10 hearing before the Zoning Board of Appeals.
"The inn is presently a pre-existing, non-conforming use," said abutter Ken Werner, who has lived in the neighborhood for years. "To change that use, they need a special permit, which is legal and proper."
Werner said he has been designated as the spokesman for the abutters' group.
Werner noted that a clause in the town bylaw stipulates, however, that the special permit shall not be granted if the new use is a detriment to the neighborhood. A large number of abutters to the property believe that to be true, he said.
He cited as an example a potential increase in traffic, especially during the off-season. The former Williamsville Inn -- once a private home and most recently an inn and restaurant -- was a largely seasonal business that operated in the summer.
"The proposal would replace it with a year-round business," he said. "We all enjoy the hustle and bustle of the summer, but we also enjoy the quiet of the off-season."
The proposed facility would be a year-round residential drug treatment center for teens. The center would be licensed for 16 to 20 teens with 40 employees.
Werner said there were also concerns that the developers would not be on the premises. The Williamsville Inn, he said, has an in-house owner. That would not be the case with the center.
Clay Lifflander, one of the partners in Williamsville Center LLC, said he was aware the abutters have hired legal counsel and are gearing up to dispute the special permit application.
He added that a scheduled meeting with abutters on Wednesday was canceled.
"We will still remain available for any of [the abutters] who want to understand more about us," he said in an e-mail.
To reach Derek Gentile:
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On Twitter: @DerekGentile.