WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. – The owner of the 207-acre Waubeeka Golf Links in South Williamstown, set in a valley with one of the most celebrated views in Massachusetts, will go before the planning board Thursday night at 7 p.m. at Town Hall and argue against any permanent "conservation-restriction" guarantee that any of the property will remain forever open -- as well as any size limitation on an up-to-120-"guest unit" country inn.
Two weeks ago, Town Manager Jason Hoch – seeking a compromise between a majority of planning-board members and developer Michael Deep, offered language that would impose a legal conservation restriction on at least 67 acres of the parcel, and more than that as the size of a proposed 120-room country-inn development grew. But in changes to Hoch’s draft made public on Wednesday by Deep’s attorney, Stan Parese, the language about conservation restrictions is removed.
Meanwhile, Planning Board member Ann McCallum was described by Hoch as working on her own adjustments to Hoch’s “compromise” proposal. Both Hoch’s proposal and Parese’s revisions represent proposed amendments to a “citizens petition” warrant article which will be before voters at the May 17 Town Meeting.
Among key changes to Hoch’s compromise proposed in Parese’s markup:
- A reduction to 10 acres in the size of the parcel (with the overall 207 acres) on which the country-inn structures would have to be constructed.
- A numerical ceiling of 120 “guest units” – all “without kitchens” on the development. Each unit could be multiple rooms. Also, the Parese proposal eliminates any maximum square-footage for the inn structures. Hoch has proposed a maximum of 50,000 square feet – about the same size as The Orchards Inn.
- An agreement that “no dwelling units” could be built elsewhere on the golf course other that as part of the country-inn development, once a developer obtains – and maintains – a special permit for the country inn. However, if Deep is unable to put together an inn-development package, he could revert to closing the golf course and developing housing lots.
- Acceptance of Hoch’s definition of a country inn as “an establishment where overnight transient sleeping accommodations are provided to lodgers in one or more, but not to exceed 120, guest units without kitchens.” A restaurant, gathering and banquet facilities and accessory recreational facilities such as a swimming pool or hiking trails would be permitted.
For earlier stories on the Waubeeka proposal, click to http://www.greylocknews.com and scroll down continuously.