On November 14, 2018

Zoning board denies VRBO

By Katy Savage

The Zoning Board of Adjustment voted unanimously Nov. 7 to deny a zoning appeal filed by Vincent Connolly of Killington Properties. The appeal was  in response to Zoning Administrator Dick Horner’s notice that his vacation home violates the sleeping capacity ordinance.

Connolly advertises that his three-bedroom home can sleep 28 people on the website, Vacation Rentals By Owner (VRBO) – far exceeding the town’s two people per bedroom capacity in residential areas, Horner said.

Horner pointed out that the home is classified as a hotel by state standards.

“We do not permit hotels now or ever in residential districts,”Horner said.

The board voted to uphold Horner’s decision. The board will issue its reasons within 45 days. After that, the parties have 30 days to appeal to the state environmental court.

Last Wednesday, Connolly said he plans to appeal the decision by the board.

Before the decision,
Connolly’s lawyer Jon Anderson argued that if there is a zoning violation, the property is a grandfathered use.

Connolly started renting his house to guests in 2005, the year before the zoning ordinance was changed in 2006 to  limit sleeping capacity.

Anderson argued that the single-family home is only rented to one person of a family or a group, not the entire group. Anderson  also argued that the town’s zoning bylaws loosely defines family in that context as:  “One or more persons living together in the same dwelling unit and sharing the same kitchen.”

Anderson said, by definition, Connolly’s home meets the requirements in the zoning ordinance.

Zoning Board of Adjustment chair Ron Riquier also expressed concerned about the site’s septic system.

The home was issued a  1,000-gallon septic system permit for a three bedroom home in 2002. No changes have been made to the septic system since then.

“It has a very small septic system,” said Riquier.

The chair asked several times if he has a septic permit from the state.

Connolly said he received approval from the Vermont Department of Public Safety Division of Fire Safety.

However,  Riquier called the letter “worthless” without a permit.

Connolly’s home is located in the Cricket Hill community, which has a covenant that restricts commercial uses. Though the town zoning won’t enforce that, several Cricket Hill owners were at the meeting, explaining they’ve heard “unbearable noise” from firecrackers and loud guests.

They were also concerned about the limited parking space for such large groups of people.

“Why would you come into a neighborhood to destroy it for your benefit?” one Cricket Hill neighbor asked.

Connolly has argued his vacation rental is no different from the several other vacation rentals in Killington.

Connolly continues to rent his home.

He advertises the garage has been converted to a heated game room with foosball, commercial air hockey, darts, mini basketball net and a television with a sound system.

If Connolly is found in violation after the appeal process, the fine can reach $200 a day after a decision is issued.

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