After a lengthy process that included several days of Act 250
hearings and related site visit, several recess orders and numerous
extensions for filings of requested information, the District #1
Environmental Commission (Commission) last week received the
information it needs and began deliberations on the applications
for the Killington Village Master Plan and new Resort Parking
The Commission has two distinct applications before it and has
received hundreds of pages of information for 300 exhibits related
to the application for the Village Master Plan submitted by SP Land
Company in February 2012. The information for the Resort Parking
Projects permit submitted by Killington Resort is not as lengthy
and does not have as many exhibits but is still considerable.
The Village Master Plan #1R0980 permit application specifically
requests a permit to subdivide 15 lots throughout the Killington
Mountain area and seeks reaffirmation for administrative and
consolidation purposes of another 10 lots.
Additionally, it seeks conceptual authorization for the Village
Master Plan for the development of approximately 2,300 individually
occupied residential units, a replacement skier services building,
and associated commercial space.
The Village Master Plan application specifically requests
authorization (a permit) to develop Phase I of the Village Master
Plan, which consists of: 193 residential units in the Village Core;
approximately 32,000 square feet of commercial/retail space; a
replacement skier services building; a 32-lot Ramshead Brook
Subdivision; and two potable water projects -the Snowdon Well Field
Project and the Valley Well Field Project.
Both the 50-page Proposal for Findings of Fact and Conclusions of
Law document and a 7-page Proposed Permit Conditions document for
the Village Master Plan were filed on behalf of applicant SP Land
Company, LLC by Stephanie Hainley, project manager and chief
operating office of White + Burke Real Estate Investment Advisors,
Inc. Hainley also presented the application at the Act 250 hearings
that took place in late May/early June in 2012.
Steven Selbo, President of SP Land, recently told The Mountain
Times that he thought they "had done a thorough job with their
proposed languages" which address various criteria that were of
special concern regarding the application. He added that he looks
"forward to the Commission's final decision" and receiving the same
"on a timely basis."
One of the issues raised during the Act 250 hearings concerned
Criterion 5 Transportation and 9 Public Investment the amount of
traffic (trip generation) that Phase I of the new village would
cause. In its proposal to the Commission, SP Land suggested that
"six-months-to-one-year and five-years after full occupancy of
Phase I and during the ski season that the Applicant" would conduct
a study to determine actual trip generation and compare it to the
Traffic Impact Study they submitted at the hearings.
If the actual trip generation were found "to exceed the
estimates by 20 percent or more," their proposal stated that the
Applicant would re-analyze the various intersections (reported on
in the study area) and report on signal warrants, turn lane
warrants, average delays, and other parameters. They also
recognized the Commission's continuing jurisdiction and right to
convene a status conference to determine whether further studies
and/or mitigating measures might be warranted.
In all, the Applicant (SP Land Company, LLC) proposed adhering
to some 30 conditions, ranging from hours that construction might
be allowed to following the guidelines/parameters as presented in
their 300 exhibits - all of which are meant to be in keeping with
the spirit of Act 250 for thoughtful and responsible
Hainley and Jeff Temple of Killington/Pico Ski Resort Partners,
LLC also filed for the Resort Parking Projects #1R0981 Proposed
Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law (16 pages) and Proposed
Permit Conditions (five pages) on July 9.
The Resort seeks a permit that would specifically authorize the
construction of replacement day skier parking lots, realignment of
a portion of Killington Road, reconfiguration of The Killington
Grand hotel parking lot, and construction of a storm-water basin
and associated utilities.
Among the 27 conditions the Resort suggested was one under
Criterion 8 (aesthetics, historic sites, etcetera) to have a
qualified consulting archeologist study and assess a portion of an
area known as VT-RU-568 which has been identified as
"archeologically sensitive" and of historic importance.
The Applicant (Killington Resort) agreed to observe the
prohibitions for work in the VT-RU-568 buffer zone and to any
mitigation measures that might be required to address the portion
of their project that might potentially affect the area of the huge
sawdust pile that was left from 100 years ago when the mountain was
logged. [The Vermont Marble Company owned 3,022 acres of
"Killington lands," which they purchased in 1901 and lumbered to
1918 with a sawmill located near the present Basin Ski Shop
complex.] Revised site plans would be presented to the Commission
and the Division for Historic Preservation for review and approval
before any work commenced in the affected area.
Time for deliberations
With both the applicants' proposals and those of various other
parties, including opponents to the projects, now filed, the
Commission is in the deliberations stage.
This process requires that the three knowledgeable members of
the Commission - an attorney, an executive with a local power
company, and a retired playwright make up the current Commission -
address the various Act 250 criteria. There are ten criteria for
Act 250 permits now, but some of them have sub-criteria making more
that the Commission may address.
Although they have been reviewing various documents as received,
Commission members must now come together and make determinations
that the criteria are met while addressing objections submitted by
opponents to various parts of the project or concerns raised by
statutory parties. They also address various permits that had to be
gained from such parties as the Agency of Natural Resources among
That done, they put forth any conditions to be followed and then
draft the permit which must be consistent with findings of law.
This must be done in concert with various rulings by State agencies
and Vermont laws.
There are some known contentious issues among those who oppose
various parts of the project so this process will take time. Should
they feel there is still a missing piece of information that is
needed for their decision, the Commission could make a request for
such, however, usually at the stage when deliberations are made,
the application is considered as complete.
Of note, while an economic study was included as part of the
Village Master Plan application and it did not indicate a need for
affordable housing and the issue was not raised during the
hearings, recently the Rutland Regional Planning Commission raised
concerns about this issue. Whether the Commission will address it
is not known, but SP Land and others, including the Town of
Killington, objected to the need of affordable housing and the
topic being raised so late in the process.
Because the Village Master Plan is a major project of importance
to the Rutland Region, not just Killington, expectations are that
the deliberations could take a while as the Commission must give
careful consideration to all. In this respect, the process is
somewhat analogous to a trial where a jury must sift through
testimony and weigh the evidence in coming to its conclusion.
The good news is that after years of planning and the
expenditures of great sums of money, the permit process is finally
getting closer to a conclusion where SP Land's proposed Village
Mater Plan and the Resort's Parking Project may get underway.