After 'glamping' resort pitch, North Adams planners, neighbors seek details

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NORTH ADAMS — A Williamstown native has a vision for a recreational resort unlike any other in the Northern Berkshires.

Its would-be neighbors — and the Planning Board — have questions.

Under the proposal detailed by developer D. Foster Goodrich to the Planning Board on Monday, a residential property at 976 Notch Road would be transformed into a resort with dozens of "glamping" sites featuring canvas tents, traditional campsites, and sites for permanent trailers or tiny homes.

The Planning Board quickly put the brakes on the process, asking Goodrich for more details on the proposal — including lighting on site, proposed signage, and the intricacies of a sewer hook-up — as well as a site visit for board members before taking a final vote.

"Clearly this board has a lot of homework to do," said Planning Board Chairman Michael Leary.

Several residents of the area expressed concerns about the proposal.

Josh Field, of nearby Reservoir Road, detailed the topography of the area and summarized a number of impacts neighbors are worried about, especially noise pollution.

"It's not the property it looks like from Google Earth. Absolutely not," Field said.

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The property's current residence would accommodate a small number of guests in what plans term as a bed and breakfast, while a separate building would be used as a retail and rental equipment shop. A second, smaller residence on the property would be occupied by the owner.

With its focus on the abundance of nearby recreational opportunities — the gate to the Mount Greylock State Reservation is less than a mile away — the site would be be complemented by a network of trails for mountain biking, hiking, trail running and more. The resort would be seasonal, Goodrich said, operating from May through October.

The property is in a rural zone, which allows for this type of use, Building Inspector William Meranti confirmed.

Goodrich has spent the last year and a half then plotting to create a business that would mashup his professional experience in construction and with his personal love of outdoor recreation.

"It ended up with a nontraditional look at how to create hospitality offerings," Goodrich told the Planning Board on Monday.

Glamping, one of the highlights of the proposal with 25 sites slated for phase one of the development, is shorthand for for "glamorous camping."

"These are platforms with yukon-style canvas tents over them. We're trying to bring in the necessary infrastructure to support that," Goodrich said.

Goodrich stressed that although campers or tiny homes would be permitted and on the site, they would be owned by the resort and only used by guests.

Adam Shanks can be reached at ashanks@berkshireeagle.com, at @EagleAdamShanks on Twitter, or 413-629-4517.


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