Letter: Informative column on historic preservation

Posted
To the editor:

Thank you for publishing Carole Owens' excellent op-ed piece in The Eagle (Feb. 8), "Trust and follow the process," offering supporting evidence and useful tactics for historic preservation.

Especially helpful was the UMass study showing the value of historic preservation in a resident's sense of place, and the positive correlation between preservation and tourism. In recent preservation planning focus groups, I listened to a planning board member say that "good enough" might be the key to development in the village given the look of the district now. And a Historic District Commission member said they had no training for their job. I didn't know how to respond.

Also appreciated was her wise counsel to pick the consequence and focus on the process. "The best process aids in getting and understanding the best answers on which the best decisions are made surprises and unintended consequences are minimized."

Useful, also, was Stockbridge Board of Selectmen Chairman Don Chabon's insightful questions regarding the 37 Interlaken development in terms of potential liability to the town if the project is approved but not completed, the impact of a potential ownership change if the project is "flipped," the effects on police, fire, roads, water, sewer and housing values, the impacts on the neighborhood and the hospitality industry. and the appropriateness of a study on the "sociological impact" of the project.

I was encouraged by a letter to the editor the same day from Abbey Moran of Great Barrington applauding preservation in the Berkshires. And by a young Ventfort Hall bookkeeper, who approached me after a preservation planning focus group to ask how she can be involved in Lenox preservation.

I am sharing Carole's article with my fellow commissioners on the Lenox Historical Commission and with Peter Benton and Elizabeth Weston, our preservation planning consultants.

Suzanne W. Pelton,

Lenox



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