By Katy Savage
About 20 people attended an Act 250 prehearing conference at the Killington Public Safety Building April 29 for a 104-unit residential housing development at Bear Mountain, called Base Camp at Bear Mountain.
If approved, the development will be the first true ski on-ski off housing units at Killington Resort, according to the real estate listing. There will be a mix of single family homes, multi-family homes and duplexes, with garage parking, a gated entrance and mountain views. Prices for the new homes start at just over $2 million each.
The Act 250 permit for the project was submitted by Ottauquechee Realty Advisors and Killington/Pico Ski Partners.
Steve Malone, one of the project developers, presented architectural designs to the group on April 29. He explained the Killington Development Review Board gave approval for Phase 1 of the project and approval of the master plan on June 1, 2021.
“We’ve addressed all the issues with regard to wildlife habitat, traffic impact on the project, burden on town services — those have all been addressed,” Malone said.
The prehearing meeting, part of the Act 250 approval process, gives abutters and those with party status the chance to resolve concerns with the proposed project before moving forward. Another hearing to discuss the merits of the project will be held at a later date. Those in attendance expressed no issues with Malone’s presentation, though some abutters expressed concerns in writing.
Joseph Pullaro, a neighbor, said he was concerned with the view of the mountain being obstructed in a letter he wrote on April 19.
“I am not necessarily objecting to the project but am concerned with the view I have of the mountain that may be affected,” Pullaro said in his letter.
Malone addressed Pullaro’s concerns on April 29, explaining the duplex homes will not be viewable from where Pullaro lives.
“He’s way higher than any of the units below him that we’re going to be building,” Malone said at the prehearing, adding there’s a “significant treeline” between the homes. “He will not see those buildings from his residence.”
Peter Frederiksen, another neighbor, had traffic safety apprehensions.
“I have concerns that the project will lead to an increase in traffic and accidents on Bear Mountain Road, which in turn may prevent emergency vehicles from reaching their destination,” Frederiksen wrote.
Malone said there will be signage on Bear Mountain Road, which is currently a private road. Killington Resort will also enforce illegal parking on the road.
Some questioned the future of the project if the health of the real estate market takes a downturn.
The idea for the development has been 15 years in the making. Discussions started in 2007, back when Killington Resort was owned by American Skiing Company. Killington was purchased by Powdr Corp. in February 2007 and Malone said the project stalled. Then the market declined in 2008.
“We waited for the right time to come back and have discussions with Killington and Powdr,” Malone said in a phone conversation. “We waited almost 10 years to even have a discussion about it again. There was nothing to talk about during the Great Recession.”
The project was originally slated to have 156 units but Malone reduced that to 104 units since he received notice from Agency of Natural Resources, Department of Fish and Wildife and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers two weeks ago that his original concepts didn’t meet setback requirements for riparian streams.
Multi-family homes have been reduced from five stories to three to accommodate the riparian buffer. Duplexes are also being impacted.
“It reduced our development site substantially,” Malone said.
Under current plans, 12 duplex buildings will be constructed in phase one, offering 24 townhomes. Multi-family homes will be constructed in phase two, totaling 72 units in four buildings with 18 units each. Six single family homes, totaling about 4,000 square feet each, will be constructed in phase three.
The trail, Bear Cub, will also be lowered in phase one as part of the development plan and a tunnel for skiers and riders to travel through will be installed.
All the homes will be a mid-century modern design with neutral colors and a neutral-colored roof.
All will use low-lighting fixtures. Malone said he avoided alternative energy, such as solar panels, in the home design due to aesthetic concerns.
Homeowners will obtain their own architects but will have to conform to the restrictions that are established in the community, including the color palette. Malone said he’s building only after the homes and lots have been purchased.
“We are not building in a speculative manner,” Malone said. “We take contracts and we borrow against the sales we have in hand.”
Bear Mountain is now accepting non-binding reservations for the right to enter into a purchase agreement with a $10,000 fully refundable deposit.
Malone said he has deposits for 16 of 24 units for phase one already. He hopes to start construction of phase one in July and complete it in 2023.