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Update on Northgate
 
We know that many residents are eager to hear more about the status of the Northgate Resort proposal and what led to the cancelation of the Planning Board's follow-up meeting scheduled for August 16, 2021.  
 
Recap of events from July 28-Aug 13
Briefly, at the initial meeting, July 28, 2021, held at the Nessacus School, Hinsdale Officials and residents heard from Northgate's Chelsea Bossenbroek and then, more extensively from White Engineering's Brent White and MDM Transportation's Robert Michaud. Approximately 100 residents attended the meeting, just under half via Zoom.
 
The Michigan-based company
Northgate Resorts plans to purchase the Camp Emerson property and develop it into 19 campground resorts. We learned they plan to have 200 open campsites and another 117 sites with stationary trailer cabins rentals for those without a camper of their own. Additionally, they will have activities and events similar to their other parks, including a splash pad, pool, and their own pond. They would also own Camp Emerson's lakefront property on Plunkett Reservoir, which Northgate may use for paddleboards and kayak rentals, but that matter is still under consideration.
 
We remind Hinsdale residents that this is the first time one of these camps is being re-imagined, which is why the Town is proceeding with caution as all of this is discussed.  Initially, the guidance received was to have the Planning Board hear from Northgate, which, typically for Hinsdale, leads to further review from the various other boards and committees that may need to weigh in on such a plan.  However, at and after the July 28 Planning Board meeting, Select Board and Planning Board Chair Dick Scialabba, Zoning Board Chair Jeff Viner, and Building Inspector/Codes Enforcement Officer Paul Greene discussed their differing perspectives on the next steps.

After that July 28th meeting, we reviewed the issues thoroughly with Counsel. Just as we were finalizing a letter to Northgate documenting our concerns (which we shared on the Town's website on August 13, 2021), Brent White wrote, indicating that Northgate's desire for a continuation at a later date, moments before Dick Scialabba's letter would have done the same.  That correspondence from Brent White is reprinted below.
Email from White Engineering
From: Brent White [mailto:bwhite@whiteeng.com]
Sent: Friday, August 13, 2021, 3:57 PM
To: Scialabba, Dick <RScialabba@hinsdalema.gov>
Cc: Chelsea Bossenbroek <cbossenbroek@northgateholdings.com>; et.al. 
Subject: Request to Continue Planning Board Meeting for Northgate Resorts Special Permit for Camp Emerson
Importance: High
 
Dear Chairman Scialabba and Member of the Hinsdale Planning Board,
 
Please accept this correspondence as a request from the applicant to continue the Planning Board Hearing scheduled for Monday, August 16, 2021.  In discussions with Town Administrator Bob Graves earlier today and not having received information via email, we understand that there has still not been a definitive response from Town Counsel.   Based on that, we would not be able to provide a comprehensive response to concerns raised as we need to account for the feedback from Town Counsel and any potential changes to responses we have prepared.  Next week would be the earliest we would receive a response from Town Counsel, so it may be appropriate to continue the discussion until September 13, 2021, which has been identified as the potential next meeting date.  Representatives from our project team will not be attending on Monday, August 16, 2021.
 
I was unable to reach Bob by phone this afternoon after speaking with my client and why I am copying multiple town email accounts so that it may be possible to try and pass along before the weekend.  We look forward to receiving the response from Town Counsel and providing our comprehensive response in advance of the next hearing with the Board.  Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact my office.
 
Sincerely,
 
 
Brent M. White, MCE, PE, LEED AP
Principal
White Engineering, Inc.
55 South Merriam Street
Pittsfield, MA 01201
(p) 413-443-8011
(f) 413-443-8012

bwhite@whiteeng.com
Dick Scialabba's Email Responding to White/Bossenbroek
Then, Dick Scialabba's letter was forwarded to Chelsea Bossenbroek (et al) at 4:17 p.m., minutes after we received White's message. The email is reprinted and the document is on the website.
Sent: Friday, August 13, 2021 4:17 p.m.
To: 'Brent White' <bwhite@whiteeng.com>; Chelsea Bossenbroek <cbossenbroek@northgateholdings.com>
Cc: Robert Michaud <rmichaud@mdmtrans.com>; (et.al)
Subject: Please read the message from the Select Board Chair
 
Dear Chelsea and Brent:
 
Please see the attached letter from Dick Scialabba.


(* The letter that was attached to this message is available on the Town's website here.)
 
The Following Week (August 16-20)
 On Town Counsel's recommendation the following week, we sent Chelsea Bossenbroek another letter via email, explaining the next steps with an Extension Agreement for her to sign and return, ensuring the Town and Northgate are clear on the path forward, should they wish to resubmit their proposal (which we fully anticipate they shall do). 

The Extension was signed and certified by the Town Clerk's Office this morning. That follow-up
letter and the Extension Agreement are now posted on the website for all to read.

 
Engineer Hired to Review Northgate's Plans for the Town
The Town has contracted DPC Engineering, LLC (DPC) to review Northgate's proposed water and sewer needs and report their finding at a public meeting in the coming weeks.  DPC is a civil and environmental engineering consulting firm. They have been working with the Town for more than five years on our water, wastewater, and stormwater projects and are a highly regarded firm consulting with our and other Berkshires communities.

DPC is working with Innovative Data, LLC out of Belchertown to review Northgate's traffic study as part of the agreement. Innovative Data has worked with Hinsdale to prepare traffic studies of Old Dalton Road, George and Frank Schnopp Roads, and Peru Road.  These reports either have or will be used in Hinsdale's road grant applications.
 
Best of Intentions
Lastly, please know that the Select Board, Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, and all others who may be called on to participate in the review of Northgate Resorts on behalf of the Town take their responsibilities seriously.  Reviewing such matters properly, with due diligence, is a process that takes time.  Rather than rush to judgment, the Town shall continue to proceed cautiously.  We will continue to consult with our legal team and expert consultants so that we are confident in the decisions made on behalf of the Town and shall do so with the BEST of intentions.  We hope that every resident will do the same and that we all continue to be forthright and civil as this and other matters are discussed and debated.
 
Sincerely,
 
 
Bob
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