Letter: Stockbridge will have its say on good 37 Interlaken plan

To the editor:

I read with disappointment, though not surprise, the article regarding town counsel's letter to representatives of the 37 Interlaken project (Eagle, Jan. 22). Of course, it is important to note that town counsel does the bidding of the Board of Selectmen (which appoints him), so it is no surprise that he would take the positions he did. It is telling, however, that even town counsel seems to understand that the selectmen violated at least the spirit of the open meeting law by refusing to meet with the property owner and then engaging in a lengthy discussion about the project when such a discussion was not on their meeting agenda.

Hopefully, what is shaping up, due to the Selectmen's refusal to meet with the developer — while admitting to having met with the abutters, and two of the three openly stating their objections to the development — will not result in our town having to spend the type of money spent to defend our Planning Board during a previous dispute. That dispute was eventually decided in total favor of the land owner. That fiasco cost our town somewhere around $160,000! Yep, that money went down the "rabbit hole" of another attempt to wrongly affect a private land owner's rights. Fortunately for the town, this developer seems to be interested in cooperative dialogue (despite the bad faith of our selectmen), rather than in litigation.

In May, town meeting voters will get to vote on the idea (or concept) of the project, and if they approve, all the respective town processes will be followed — planning board review, conservation committee review, water and sewer review, traffic studies, etc., with all reasonable conditions being put in place enabling the developer to proceed. This will not affect the future governance of Stockbridge.

This project, in my opinion, is "the last, best" chance for our town to gain the benefits of tax income and jobs, from a business that will have zero negative impact.

Jim Balfanz,



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