To the editor:

We are in uncharted territory here in Intervale. The town of Conway is on the verge of approving a 70-room hotel, 75-seat public restaurant, and more, at the intersection of Route 16 and Intervale Cross Road — an area that has seen numerous traffic accidents, near-misses and, tragically, three fatalities in the past 13 years.

This project is on the scale of what you’ll find further south on Route 16 near the outlets. Except this one is on a relatively small plot of land with a dense residential development next door, active recreation trails, and located at a failed intersection that neither the town and state have plans to improve, not even with sidewalks or crosswalks.

A year ago, we learned through the media that a massive luxury hotel and restaurant were planned to replace the 16-unit Intervale Motel. As neighbors, we would be directly impacted by the project. We engaged in the town of Conway’s site plan review process, attended numerous planning board meetings, and submitted nuisance complaints.

The developer rejected our concerns out of hand, refused to engage with us, nor attended a planning board meeting in person.

We pressed on.

Last September, the planning board took action that aligned with many of our concerns, directing the developer to revise their plan. We were hopeful that we could find common ground.

While the latest plans submitted in December show progress (namely, a 30 percent reduction in rooms), the developer has introduced new elements, such as a 75-seat public restaurant and a fourth-floor “observation deck,” which raise more questions and concerns.

A restaurant open to the public will generate more traffic and demand for onsite parking at peak times, yet the developer has not allowed for overflow parking, or even a waiting area for restaurant guests. Just imagine the backup on Route 16 heading north to Bartlett, sure to rival the line of cars at Dunkin on a Saturday morning.

As for the ill-defined fourth-floor “observation deck,” the town would need to grant a waiver, since it exceeds the maximum height directive the planning board gave the developer. Yet, the developer has provided minimal information about this new space.

Why build an “observation deck” when there’s already one — the Scenic Vista — just across the street?

What would prevent the developer from repurposing the “observation deck” into a private function space, an extension of the public restaurant, or something else entirely? Most any scenario puts additional pressure on parking, traffic, the inevitable noise and light pollution, and safety.

Unfortunately, our existing town ordinances provide little guidance around “observation decks.”

A 70-room hotel, a 75-seat public restaurant, an “observation deck,” the bare minimum for parking — all squeezed onto a 3-acre lot next to a residential development, at a failed intersection where Conway meets Bartlett.

It’s too much, too big, too close.

While the developers have made their impatience, frustration and disdain for the process and the neighbors’ input well-known, we urge the planning board to press for more detail at the Jan. 13 meeting, and proceed with caution before changing the face of Intervale forever.

I am submitting this letter on behalf of neighbors from Dinsmore Road, Neighbors Row, Mountain View Estates, Intervale Cross Road and Balcony Seat View.

Jeffrey Shutak

Intervale

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