Killington moves forward with development, pending bat noises 

By Curt Peterson

Selectman Jim Haff and Town Manager Chet Hagenbarth presented an update on the Killington Forward project at the April 24 Select Board meeting.

Current focus is on two phases of the proposed municipal water system, which is a federal requirement to fund proposed workforce housing, part of the Killington Forward master plan, and sorely needed due to PFAs contamination of some local wells.

Hagenbarth said bid requests for the first phase have been sent out, with a May 11 deadline for responses. 

“There was a lot of interest in the project at a recent ‘pre-bid meeting,’” he said.

Haff told the Mountain Times three sections of the system are included in the first bid, and one section in another bid request that may be sent out as soon as June.

For necessary clearing, trees have been felled in two areas — in the flats behind the Mountain Times office, and about a quarter mile east of that site, on the south side of Route 4. Haff said the work can be seen from the highway. 

More trees are scheduled to be cut, but federal funding requires the town to test for the presence of endangered little brown bats in the tree-cutting area.

Current tree cutting preceded an April 14 deadline, after which “bat tests” are required. Hagenbarth said microphones will be installed in May in trees within the proposed cutting areas. Lack of evidence of bat activity would qualify Killington for a three-year permission-to-cut certificate.

If “bat noises” are detected during a three-day test period, no cutting can take place until after Nov. 15, affecting the project schedule.

Ideally, second section work could start in September, Haff said. If trees can’t be cut till November, it will cause a delay. 

“If we don’t detect any bat noises, it can give us a two-month head start,” he said.

Killington Forward is a “comprehensive, multi-phased plan to develop municipal water structure, rebuild an improved Killington Road, allow for development of Six Peaks Village (on property currently owned by SP Land), and lay the groundwork for workforce housing,” the selectboard stated in a Feb. 8 FAQ piece in the Mountain Times.

Financing totals $47 million, including grants and a municipal bond. Tax increment financing (TIF) will mean an expected actual surplus of more than $2.5 million over 10 years, and no increase in local or education taxes.

The Six Peaks development, including 32,000 square feet of commercial space and 239 residential units, will provide enough tax revenue to more than cover Killington Forward Phase I investments by the town.

“Everything looks like it’s moving forward,” Haff told meeting attendees.

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