On January 23, 2019

Killington homeowner takes town to court over rental

By Katy Savage

The Killington Zoning Board of Adjustment determined Thursday, Jan. 17 that a vacation home is a commercial facility.

The board voted unanimously to uphold Zoning Administrator Dick Horner’s decision that a homeowner should have obtained a permit for a commercial facility when he started renting his single family dwelling unit through the vacation website, Vacation Rentals by Owner.

Homeowner Vincent Connolly purchased the three-bedroom home on Estabrook Road in 2005 as a primary residence.  He shortly thereafter  started renting it to up to 28 people.

The home has caused a stir in the community. Neighbors have complained of loud noise and firecrackers coming from the house.

“This can have as many as 14-20 cars a day that are staying at his house,” said Ed Fowler, who lives a half-mile away.

Connolly’s attorney, Brooke Dingledine, challenged the language in Killington’s bylaws at the Thursday public hearing. She read several definitions from the zoning bylaws and said the home meets the town’s definition of a single family dwelling unit.

“You people wrote the law,” she said. “And now you want to apply it incorrectly.”

This is the first time the town has issued a zoning violation to a vacation home.

Dingledine said it appeared Connolly was being singled out and cautioned the board about proceeding.

“You’re setting a precedent,” she said. “If he’s going to be the sacrificial lamb then you have a lot of work to do.”

Dingledine advised the town to look into all of Killington’s other vacation homes. Kevin Brown, a lawyer who represented the town, shot down that argument, explaining the town doesn’t have the administrative capacity to go after every vacation home.

“It’s akin to ‘look at all these other people speeding,’” Brown said. “[The board] does not have to prosecute everybody. It has to enforce the zoning law.”

This was the second zoning violation Connolly received. He was issued a notice on Aug. 2 for violating zoning bylaws that limit a bedroom’s capacity to two people. The Zoning Board upheld the letter last fall. Connolly appealed that decision to the Environmental Court.  Connolly did not attend Thursday’s hearing but Dingledine told the board that Connolly would appeal this decision as well.

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