Monday, May 11, 2015

The Elm Court Estate Project Passes Major Approval Hurdle

There's more negotiation ahead, but Travaasa's proposed development of a unique and historic Berkshire estate into a destination Travaasa Resort has moved closer to reality. The Lenox, Mass., Zoning Board of Appeals voted 4-1 on May 7 to approve a special permit allowing access to the 90-acre property, which lies mainly in the town of Stockbridge, Mass.

The good news for Travaasa's Berkshire project does not yet signal a clear path toward development: the Lenox Zoning Board has set a June 10 meeting to begin the work of negotiating a list of conditions for the project. 

"We are so pleased with the diligent approval process led by the Zoning Board of Appeals," said Hawthorne. "We look forward to proceeding as stewards of the historic Elm Court estate and its stunning open space."

Hawthorne said his team is ready and eager to begin addressing conditions with the town. 

Visit The Berkshire Eagle for a well-balanced news article covering the May 7 meeting.

The Berkshire project, on a 90-acre swath of scenic open space, anchored by one of the nation's most historically and architecturally unique private homes, lies mainly in the town of Stockbridge, which approved the project last year. The frontage and access drive lie on three acres in the town of Lenox, thus the Lenox board's involvement and oversight. 

Travaasa has been at work on the project since 2012, when it acquired the property from the heirs of the Vanderbilt family, which built the shingle-styled home in1886. For a history of the Elm Court property, visit elmcourt.com/history.

Wednesday, May 6 @ 7 p.m.


The Lenox Zoning Board of Appeals has scheduled a final meeting on Wednesday, May 6th to discuss the Elm Court Resort special permit application. Attend the meeting and show your support.

Wednesday, May 6 @ 7 p.m.
Lenox Town Hall
6 Walker Street, Lenox, MA 01240

April 9, 2015 – Meeting cancelled

The April 9th meeting has been cancelled and will be rescheduled for a later date. This space will be updated as soon as the date is known.

February 19, 2015

February 18th Lenox ZBA Meeting

February 18th Lenox ZBA Meeting

The Berkshire Eagle has published two articles following the February 18th meeting on Elm Court:


Show Your Support

Letters of support may be directed to:

Lenox Town Clerk*

Jennifer Picard* – jpicard@townoflenox.com
Lenox Town Hall
6 Walker Street
Lenox, MA 01240

*Please request that comments be forwarded to both the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Planning Board.

Lenox Town Planner

Gwen Miller – gmiller@townoflenox.com
6 Walker Street
Lenox, MA 01240

413-637-5500 ext. 1203

Office hours: Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

January 15, 2015

Elm Court Resort: Status Report

Following a successful special permitting process in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, Elm Court’s pursuit of a special permit moves to the town of Lenox. The historic 1885 estate and its 90 acres lie mostly in the town of Stockbridge, but the driveway access falls within three-acres just over the border in Lenox, requiring approval from the town. The Lenox special permit, if allowed, would clear the way for restoration of the Vanderbilt property into a Travaasa Experiential Resort.

The Lenox Planning Board, acting in its advisory role, reviews the Elm Court application on January 13 and February 10, 2015. On February 18, 2015, the town Zoning Board of Appeals takes up the permit for consideration. 

To earn approval, Travaasa must show that the Elm Court project satisfies six criteria in the Lenox Zoning Bylaws.

 “We are confident that the project meets all of these criteria, and even surpasses the requirements in several respects,” said Adam Hawthorne, president of Travaasa. “Our application is comprehensive, as are the supporting studies that evaluate water, sewer and traffic impacts for the project.” 

Hawthorne said he looks forward to an open dialogue with town boards and neighbors in coming weeks as the project is reviewed.

The special permit criteria include:  

  • Community needs served by the proposal. 
  • Traffic flow and safety (including parking and loading)
  • Adequacy of utilities and other public services 
  • Neighborhood character and social structures
  • Impacts on the natural environment
  • Potential economic and fiscal impact to the town, including town services, tax base and employment

View recent news coverage [link]

SEPTEMBER 10, 2014


We are pleased to announce the Stockbridge Selectmen voted in favor of a special permit for the Elm Court project on September 8, 2014. This outcome would not have been possible without the time and energy of many supporting individuals. To those of you who offered your support in our endeavor, we extend a gracious thank you. We also look forward to a continuing dialogue with those who were in opposition, and community at large. 

We look forward to working with the town of Lenox, and with our Lenox neighbors, on the next steps for Elm Court. In the meantime, please provide your email/contact information so that we may keep you up to date.

We'll post updates here with next steps soon.

– Adam Hawthorne
President, Travaasa