On July 19, 2023

Town of Killington secures 70 acres for workforce housing

 

By Polly Mikula

The town of Killington closed on a 70-acre piece of land off Nanak Way on Friday, July 7, for $700,000.

The purchase is part of the town’s ongoing Killington Forward initiative, which, in addition to building a municipal water system and reconstructing Killington Road to be safer and support multimodal transportation (part of which is financed through TIF and supports the Six Peaks Development at the base of the resort), also includes ensuring the creation of workforce housing in town.

The property is located near the base of Killington Road (it’s the first road on the left going up the hill, behind the Hillside Inn). It is on the bus line and Alpine sewer line, but the property requires municipal water before affordable housing developers or housing trusts will consider it a workable site.

The first phase of the municipal water system will provide water from the valley wells on the Killington Flats on Route 4 (roughly behind the Mountain Times) up to the site where Six Peak Village will be developed and down Killington Road to Ravine Road. This work will begin in earnest next spring/summer and is expected to be finished by 2025. Future phases, which are projected to take another year or two, will bring the water all the way down Killington Road with a spur up to the Elementary School on Schoolhouse Road and extending on Route 4 West to include the new site of the Killington town offices (the Post Office building).

The Killington Select Board unveiled the planned workforce housing development on Feb. 16 at the KPAA and Killington Resort’s annual Community Update.

The plan maps space for a total of 250-300 housing units with 6-8 multifamily apartment buildings and 16-20 duplex or single family homes with lots of green space in between.

But the town won’t necessarily plan to build the development to capacity. Rather it will conduct a needs-based assessments to find out what the true needs of its workforce are and might be in the near-term future, and will proceed accordingly, Selectman Jim Haff explained prior to the Town Meeting Day vote in March.

“Who knows, maybe we only need 75 units at this time,” Haff added. “This might be a phased project. This is a plan to meet the town’s needs for the future. We’re in the early stages, obviously, but everyone knows we need housing that our working residents can afford. We don’t want them to have to live outside of town; we want them to be able to make a life here with their families.”

The terms “workforce housing” and “affordable housing” (although often used interchangeably) are different. Affordable housing typically refers to housing very-low income Vermonters — those earning up to 60% of the area median income (AMI), or $36,000 per year or less.

Workforce housing thresholds are greater — up to 120% AMI, according to Mary Cohen, executive director at the Housing Trust of Rutland County— that means a single person with  an annual income of up to $72,000 could qualify for workforce housing.

Since the Killington Forward proposal was approved on Town Meeting Day in March, the town has been working on preliminary studies required prior to construction, such as environmental monitoring of bats along the Route 4 flats where the municipal water system originates and working to get landowners rights-of-way along the lower section of Killington Road, whose grade will be reduced from the current 15%-18% grade to a constant 10% grade as part of Phase 1, according to Town Manager Chet Hagenbarth.

The continuous grade will begin at Anthony Way and end about 50 feet above to the intersection with Route 4.

The town will begin this work later this summer and fall. Most prominently will be the closure of the Anthony Way-to-Route 4 ection of Killington Road, which is currently planned to take place late in September. Construction will include blasting to create a constant grade, laying a dry line for future municipal water and adding a sidewalk on the west side that will connect with Killington Sports.

Future phases of Killington Road will see new sidewalks on both sides of the road — an 8-foot shared use path along the west roadway, a 5-foot sidewalk along the east roadway — plus bus pull-offs, pedestrian crosswalks, intersection improvements (including two new traffic lights at Dean Hill Road and up by Choices/Domenic’s Pizza), lighting, new fire hydrants, and landscaping improvements.

The town also plans to begin the municipal water line this summer, connecting the wells and line to the pump station in the new clearing across Route 4 (which will temporarily disrupt traffic) and continue clearing the path up to East Mountain Road to the storage tanks. Casella was awarded the ontract to compete this portion (Contract 1-3A) on May 11, as they had the lowest bid: $18,244,850. The town expects to give Casella a notice to proceed soon at which point they’ll have 720 days to complete the work.

The next segment (Contract 3B), which is still part of Phase 1, connects the water main from the water storage tank, down to Snowshed to service the proposed Six Peak Village, down to Ravine Road.

Phase 2 brings water from Ravine Road to Dean Hill Road. Phase 3 brings it down to West Hill Road, and Phase 4 connects it with Anthony Way.(Dry lines from Anthony Way to Route 4 will be done in Phase 1 with the road work). Phase 5, the final phase, brings municipal water along Route 4 to the west.

In total, the municipal water build out is expected to take 6-8 years.

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