It seems congratulations are in order for the town of Adams, again. A whole host of state officials joined the party Monday for the latest Greylock Glen send-off — this time a $44 million project that no one would dream to call a resort but that everyone, including the dreaded environmentalists, seems to like — for now.Was the toss-away phrase "dreaded environmentalists" meant as sarcasm? Or was it meant as a not-so-subtle slam? Honestly, I am not sure.
Greg: Thank you for the left-handed compliment. But why not ask me your questions directly? Better yet, why not write a letter to the editor or a column on the topic? Why limit discussion to your circle of bloggers in hyperspace when your thoughts could be read (and potentially responded to) by thousands?And to answer Glen's question to me, yes, I will be writing more columns as soon as I can find a few hours of solitude at a time to write. I wouldn't miss it. 2007 is going to be a banner year for opinion writers in North Adams.
This is, of course, an oblique plea for people to read and participate in their community newspaper, as newspapers everywhere battle to keep their print versions viable.
But to answer your main question, I used the term "dreaded environmentalists" because, as anyone who has followed the history of the Greylock Glen knows, environmental groups have effectively killed all previous proposals, dating back to the Heritage group's plan for 1,250 condos and a golf course in the late 1980s. They also killed the idea (which a lot of people liked) of creating a 25-acre lake on the site.
Town officials over the years have consistently lamented (often in letters to the editor) the opposition to Glen developments from environmental groups, such as Mass Audubon, the Sierra Club, the Berkshire Natural Resources Council, Applachian Mountain Club, etc. Many believe that, without that opposition, there would have been a golf course and housing up there in the early 1990s, if not by 2000.
That is one reason this latest project holds some promise: Mass Audubon, the AMC and the Berkshire Natural Resources Council seem to be on board. I say SEEM because we haven't got to the final master plan and the "land disposition agreement" yet, which is where all previous projects failed. It's where environmentalists, some of whom had agreed in theory to those projects, used all their clout and every legal means to stall or block them.
Hence, to many in Adams, environmentalists are indeed dreaded. (And I must note, the Glen is by no means the only development project environmentalists have tried to stall or block -- sometimes effectively, sometimes not. The controversy over windmills is the most immediate case in point – all the more interesting because it has pitted environmentalists against environmentalists).
Sorry to be long-winded (no pun intended) but please remember, one of the reasons environmental groups objected to previous Glen projects was that the developers (backed by the state and the town) continually added things on to the original plans. Who's to say that won't happen again when we get beyond the "concept plan" now under discussion?
I, for one, thank the environmentalists for their diligence. If not for them, the Glen would be overrun by timeshares or worse. And do not forget that it was largely the work of environmental groups that exposed the state's questionable (at best) selection of Chris Fleming as the developer of the last failed project.
Over-cautionary? As pointed out in the editorial, Adams has seen the
fanfare and these dog and pony shows before only to end up with nothing.
We'll see what happens this time around. There's a long, long way to go.