ITAM Renovations Face Opposition; Frustrates Many
The recent sale of the Sons of Italy ITAM Lodge 564 on Pontoosac Lake had most people in Pittsfield excited to see what new life could bring to the outdated venue, but now a group of concerned citizens are appealing the owners' plans to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, a move that has many frustrated with opposition to what most believe will be an valuable asset to the city.
A space that's been host to thousands of events over the past 40 years, the club announced it's closure in July of last year, citing dwindling memberships and a decrease in events and revenue. Buzz surrounded who would be a potential buyer of this prime piece of lake front real estate, which is zoned as BG, Business General, meaning the property could be used for almost any purpose. A warehouse, condos, restaurant, offices, manufacturing, etc.
Fast forward to January of this year when it's publicly announced that Eric Taylor of Restorations Inc, the company responsible for the construction and ownership of The Lake House Guest Cottages of The Berkshires on the north side of the lake, has purchased the property. Planning a full renovation of the property, actually reducing the building's capacity, an answer to lingering parking issues, The Lake House plans to continue to the use the property as a event space.
Of course renovation plans must vetted and approved through the proper channels, including the Department of Environmental Protection, which to date, they have been. However, a group of 19 citizens have submitted an appeal of newly approved details, a move which one local real estate agent, Matthew Jarck, believes will simply delay constructions, add costs, delay the creation of new jobs, as well as hinder potential revenue for everyone from caterers to DJ's and photographers
As most of you know I am in the real estate business with Tucker Associates & recently had the privilege to be involved with the listing and sale of the Itam property on Pontoosuc Lake. I did not take this task lightly and realized finding the right buyer with the right purpose for the land & building was critical to Pittsfield and the community. As I started my marketing & search I asked “Who would be the ideal person or business to take care of this property, rejuvenate this historic icon to a new glory & purpose? Who would be willing to invest millions of dollars, time and effort to save this property”? I thought I found the perfect business and person to do this. The owner of the Lake House Guest Cottages of the Berkshires, & Restorations Inc., Eric Taylor. I thought, what a perfect match.
Matthew Jarck, via Facebook
Jarck, a local real estate agent who was involved with the sale of the property, recently voiced his concerns on the appeal via his Facebook page, as a "concerned citizen" rather than an agent involved in the sale. He calls for people to show support for the new project, discussing it's many benefits for the city, including new tax revenue, citing taxes haven't been collected from the ITAM since 1973. He also points out that many of the concerns of the petitioners have already been resolved.
Most of their concerns were already resolved & some of the concerns seemed petty at best. They decided to appeal a decision by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection over a few minor issues.
Matthews Jarck, via Facebook
Interestingly enough, public record of the appeal shows that only three of the 19 petitioners lived on the same road as the ITAM, and one other lives within view. His post has seen overwhelming support, including comments endorsing the project from people who claim to live in the neighborhood. Jarck invites citizens to support the project by reaching out to the Mayor's office, their city council representatives, and to members of the conservation board.
Check out Jarck's original post, and the comments below. In addition, the public record of the formal appeal, including petitioners names and addresses.
Here's the link to the official appeal, via the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, which you can check out right here.