Stockbridge selectmen act in bad faith regarding 37 Interlaken project

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By Wednesday, Jan 24 Letters

To the editor:

I listened with disappointment, though not surprise, as two selectmen read the town counsel’s letter to representatives of the 37 Interlaken project during their meeting last week. 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 them openly stating their objections to the development, will not result in our town having to spend what was 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 litigation.

None of the opponents of this project have anything of substance to say about the project. Instead, they resort to personal attacks on the property owner and his team. This is all too familiar in today’s political discourse, but it is beneath our town.

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.

Please note: I write this as a private citizen and not as a member of any town committee.

Jim Balfanz

Stockbridge


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