Cynthia Payne posts to her Facebook site: Don't buy Deep's pig in a poke
LINK TO PAYNE'S FACEBOOK PAGE
Waubeeka is the second hot topic at town meeting. When we first heard of a proposal to build a country inn at Waubeeka I think we were all happy and excited at the prospect. What a great idea! Revitalize Five Corners! Save the golf course and the beautiful open space at the entrance to our town! But wait..... How big will it be? What about the golf course? What about all the land? Will it just be an inn or will there be other buildings as well?
Mike Deep has not answered our questions. His supporters put up a Facebook page - Save Waubeeka - but it's interesting to note his name is nowhere on it. Those of us who have lived here for a while know about Deep's reputation . . . .
We don't know how big the "country inn" will be. Stan Parese has said the "concept" for the inn project will be 115,000 sq feet. But how big is that? For comparison, the Orchards is 51,346 sq feet and the Williams Inn is 70,491 sq feet. 115,000 sq feet for the Waukeeka inn? Good heavens, that's HUGE! That's almost as big as the two hotels combined!
How many rooms in a unit?
Do we need that many new hotel rooms? The proposal for the new Williams Inn that the college wants to put up has said it will be smaller than the current inn because there's no demand for a larger space. There are currently three motels in town that are for sale because there's no demand for the rooms. Oh yes, rooms. Waubeeka talks about "units", not rooms. A "unit" in a hotel can be up to four rooms including kitchen facilities. Is Deep thinking of time shares there? Make a quick buck with shoddy construction and then move on?
What kind of jobs?
A big Waubeeka development is being supported by some people in town because it will provide jobs. New jobs in town! Maybe my kids will move back here if they can find jobs. But what kind of jobs are we talking about? Waitstaff, lawn mowing, and chambermaids. Low income, minimum wage jobs. I don't think I can talk my kids into coming back for that. They can stay in the city and wait tables.
Gateway to town -- viewshed
You have all heard that it's important to make a good first impression. Route 7 through South Williamstown is known for its open space and beautiful scenery. We've all seen cars parked by the side of the road taking pictures. Waubeeka is known as a beautiful golf course. Like it or not, we have turned into a tourist town. We no longer have industry here to provide jobs. What brings tourists to an area? The views. It's not an elitist, NIMBY stance to want to preserve our beautiful open spaces.
Logging and solar panels?
Currently, Waubeeka is a small building surrounded by beautiful open land. Deep has fought having any open space restrictions on his land. He finally gave in and agreed to put 67 acres at the back of the property, away from the streets, into conservation restriction in exchange for being able to build on 10 acres at the front of the property along the road. Even then, he's not talking about open land conservation. It's currently wooded land with springs. He wants to be able to log the undeveloped land that's under conservation restriction and put up solar panels there to power his new inn. That's not protecting anything!
Don't guy a pig in a poke
So we're back to the proposal. I think we can all get behind the idea of a country inn at Waubeeka. Let's agree on that. But before anything is built we need more information on the size of the buildings, the style of the buildings, and open space preservation along Routes 7 and 43 where we can actually see and enjoy it. At town meeting let's ask Deep for more information before we agree to a buy a pig in a poke.
(comments welcome, post below)