To the Editor:
I’m angry. I’m so tired of having to fight for the preservation of my home values and quality of life. I’m tired of the “reindeer games” that are being played.
The latest debacle is the proposed whiskey distillery and 8,000-square-foot banquet hall being proposed right on Creamery Pond. Besides the fact that this will be an eyesore, create a noise and light pollution nuisance to those of us who live around the pond, the proposed whisky distillery would be a tremendous fire safety hazard to the shops in the business district and an environmental threat to the pond. The Creamery Pond coalition has submitted more than 35 pages of code violations and hazards associated with this proposed project to both the planning board and the zoning board.
It all started when I woke up one morning to find the developer clear-cutting nearly two acres of lush trees on Creamery Pond even though no site plan had been submitted. He left no buffer area between his property (zoned commercial) and the pond (zoned residential) as required by town code. I've posted photos showing the destruction the developer has caused to our precious pond. And the latest?
In the Sugar Loaf business district, if a business is not listed, it’s prohibited. Restaurants are listed, catering halls are not. So you would think that the developer cannot put in an 8,000-square-foot banquet hall on the edge of the pond. You would think...
However, the developer claimed a catering hall is the same as a restaurant. The planning board said it was a gray area and handed the question down to the zoning board. The zoning board held a public hearing, in which many Creamery Pond residents spoke.
We were shocked when the zoning board voted on a completely different version of the question. (Two of the zoning board members were voting despite having missed the public hearing. And, the head of the zoning board was absent the night of voting.)
They voted on whether catering was allowed in a restaurant. In other words, they voted on the verb rather than the noun. Of course you can rent out the room upstairs in the Tap House for a baby shower, but the Tap House is a restaurant where the public can sit down at a meal without being invited to a party. Would you call the Tap House a catering hall?
The developer misled the zoning board by claiming he was building a “Farm to Table Restaurant” and might open it up to catering. Yet the new plans he is presenting still say, “bridal suite, catering hall.”
I am all for smart, safe and responsible development in the Sugar Loaf business district. I want to see our local businesses continue to grow and thrive, but this proposal is not smart, not safe and not responsible.The project goes before the planning board the first Wednesday in September. I will be there.