North Adams Planners Continue Hearing on Recreational Resort
A group led by Foster Goodrich is proposing to develop some 120 acres at 976 Notch Road in the rural residential zone into an outdoor recreation resort.
"We looked at a thousand sites across the country. I've been traveling all over the U.S. our focus has been our geographies whose economies rely on outdoor recreation — or could," he said, later adding, "everybody told me to do something local that makes sense."
Goodrich said he would like to open the first phase of the project — the tenting portion — for the summer of this year. He does not own the property but has a purchase-and-sales agreement with owner Brian O'Neil.
His plans, however, were met with objections by neighbors and abuttors who raised issues about noise, traffic and runoff.
The Planning Board, as well, asked for more details and plans a site visit to the property.
Goodrich and one of the partners, Keenan Chenail, gave the board an illustrated presentation of their proposal, touching on the economic aspects, the condition of the property and their plans for going forward.
They expect to develop at least 30 tent structures on raised platforms, the siting of a number of tiny houses and possibly Airstreams and treehouses, and the use of the current two-bedroom, single-family structure into something of a lodge with the potential for use as a bed & breakfast during the winter when the rest of the resort is closed.
Goodrich, the son of retired local attorney Donald Goodrich and the late Sally Goodrich, says he plans to move to North Adams to occupy another small home on the property.
The Mount Greylock Regional School graduate said he's been passionate about outdoor recreation and activities his whole life and spent time right graduation helping build what was the first glamping or "glamorous camping" resort in Alaska. He's had a varied career and most recently was president of School Guard Glass, a partner with LTI Smart Glass that manufactures safety glass.
He's spent the last year and a half consulting with classmates from Middlebury College to develop his yet unnamed resort.
But where Goodrich sees the potential for a getaway into the tranquil outdoors for like-minded patrons with disposable cash, many of the neighbors surround the property were concerned with how it would affect their peace and quiet.
"If this place is successful, your life becomes hell," said one neighboring property owner. "You can have the best people in the world and they'll be drinking and having their fires up there."
Another said she understood what he wanted to do but didn't think it conducive to the area.
Joshua Field said sound is magnified because of the topography along the ravine and it's easy to hear people just talking on the property.
"It's nothing for me to call Brian in the middle of supper and ask for the tractor to be turned off," he said. "We can hear each other's kids."
Field called for surveys on sound, runoff and traffic before any permit was approved.
Goodrich said there would be no campfires — just a single "event" campfire — and no regular concerts.
"We are trying to figure out how to do that, and manage that and be respectful," he said of the noise issues. He anticipated wedding events would be the most challenging because noise and traffic could be issues.
The house has a full but unfinished basement that could be used, a commercial kitchen and a large master bedroom suite that would be used for the B&B or the wedding suite. An ancillary retail store would also be on site and provisioned by local outlets. Goodrich also expected to partner with local restaurants that could use the kitchen or that glampers would go to local venues.
Goodrich said he would be working James Scalise of Scalise Associates to develop more detailed schematics that the Planning Board is looking for.
The board voted to continue the matter to the April meeting and scheduled a site visit at 5 p.m. the same day, pending Goodrich getting permission from the owner.
In other business, the board approved an application of Kycro Plastics LLC located at 456 Ashland St. for a special permit to operate a manufacturing machine shop in an I-1 zone. Owner Jeffrey Crosier said he and his son would be making small plastic parts for the electronics and textile industry.
In response to questions from neighbors about smells, noise and plastics production, Crosier said there should be no smells and the machines aren't noisy. The plastic comes in beads that are then loaded into the injection molding machines.
He had asked for operating hours of 6 to 7 but agreed to 8 to 6 to reduce neighbor concerns about early noise.
Tags: campground, glamping, Planning Board, recreation, resort,
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