Op - Ed, Opinion

Is Six Peaks Village a necessary evil?

Why Article 5 is the best deal for the town and its residents

By Polly Mikula

The need for clean reliable water in Killington (and everywhere) is well understood and agreed upon by nearly everyone. The need for a village at the base of Snowshed and Ramshead is not. Whether it’s preserving a long-standing routine (and parking spot) or a fear that Killington will go by the way of other “Disney-fied” resorts, some residents are understandably resistant to change. 

But Article 5 is not the place to wage battle against the village. A ‘no’ vote is akin to shooting yourself in the foot. 

Why? It comes down to this: The village will pay for the town to get clean and reliable water. Otherwise taxpayers will be stuck with the cost for some worse alternative.

Our schools (Killington Mountain School and Killington Elementary) both need water. Nearly all the businesses along Killington Road have some level of PFOAs (and the level that’s currently accepted is going to decrease) and homeowners are affected by PFOAs, too. 

Without clean and reliable water, we won’t even be able to sustain what Killington currently has. Private systems that effectively deal with PFOAs are simply too costly for most.

With municipal water, there’s also the opportunity for workforce housing — another crucial need for current and future residents as well as business owners. 

A municipal water system is the only way to guarantee clean and reliable water for all who need it. Yet building one is too costly for the town’s population to shoulder on its own. (Not to mention the town doesn’t currently own the land where the wells with enough potential to service the area are located.)

So the town would be stuck with a big problem and a big price tag, if it weren’t for a developer interested in building a village that also needs water, will give the town the land to operate the wells and will pay for the bulk of it. 

If you hate the village plan, think of it as a necessary evil to get what we need for ourselves: water. Without the village we’re stuck in decline, the tax hike necessary to fund an alternative (should one exist) is akin to shooting yourself in the foot; we’d all be hobbled. 

A secondary benefit to the town and its residents is that the new village development will pay to upgrade Killington Road, making it safer and saving taxpayers from bonding those cost in the near future.

So if not Article 5, then what is the right avenue to fight the village plan, if you don’t like it? First, talk to the new developer. Michael Sneyd, of Great Gulf, understands the importance of creating a village that works for all of Killington. He said “If we don’t get the first phase right, no one will buy into future phases… we are working with the resort; we want the plans to work for everyone.” Second, residents can hold them to that word with Act 250. (Phase 1 was held up for over a decade but finally passed. All future phases are yet to be permitted.)

Article 5 asks voters to approve a $47 million bond, paid for by the tax increment on the new development (TIF), which will begin the construction of a municipal water system. Please join me in voting ‘yes’ and approving this unique opportunity to get a big developer to pay for our crucial infrastructure needs.

Mountain Times Newsletter

Sign up below to receive the weekly newsletter, which also includes top trending stories and what all the locals are talking about!