By Jim Shaw |
Months of debate about whether or not a New England-style inn would be an appropriate use for the former Dana Home on Massachusetts Avenue in Lexington Center concluded Wednesday when Town Meeting voted to approve the zoning change necessary for the Inn at Hastings Park proposal to move forward. The debate lasted several hours, and in the end, the proponents prevailed 138-44, giving them the required 2/3 margin that is needed for zoning changes in Lexington.
Trisha Perez Kennealy, the lead proponent was clearly overwhelmed with the victory, but noted that the work is just now beginning. After the vote she said, “The work is only just beginning. We are excited and appreciative about the vote of confidence we have received from the community. There are so many people to thank.”
She continued, “We look forward to being this town’s inn-keepers, and we understand that there has to be ongoing communication with the community. Always! My telephone number is published and I encourage people to call anytime.”
Longtime Lexington resident and attorney Ed Grant who served as legal counsel for the hearing/Town Meeting process was equally enthusiastic about the outcome. He said, “Clearly, Town Meeting was satisfied with the process. We spent a great deal of time meeting with boards, committees, Town Meeting Members and concerned citizens. Tonight’s vote illustrates that Town Meeting was satisfied with the vetting process.”
Opponents of the project made several passionate pleas to keep the proposal from passing. However, as the evening wore on, support for the inn gained momentum. Even persuasive comments from my friend and mentor Dan Fenn, who spoke eloquently in opposition, failed to stop passage of the proposal. Proponents and opponents alike filled the balcony and shared their opinions with Town Meeting. After listening to Town meeting members speak from both the “yes” and “no” microphones, one thing was evident, both sides were well organized. One after another, Town Meeting members, both pro and con, reported a flurry of emails and telephone calls from residents who wanted to make their positions known. In the end, the proposal prevailed and as Trisha pointed out, the real work begins now, and it’s clear that there’s a great amount of enthusiasm for Lexington to have its very own New England-style inn.