It’s the first step in a major infrastructure plan to support Killington Village, Killington Road and affordable housing development
By Polly Mikula
The Killington Select Board approved a Public Infrastructure Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) letter of intent (LOI) at its regular meeting Tuesday night, Nov. 2, and it was submitted to the Vermont Economic Progress Council (VEPC) late last week.
TIF is a tool that municipalities use to finance public infrastructure improvements that are critical for development, according to the Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD). The improvements serve a specified area known as a TIF district. Once the infrastructure is built and/or improved, the private sector follows with investments which, in turn, incrementally increase the value of the Grand List.
Killington’s LOI simply indicates that the municipality intends to apply to become a TIF district with an application to VEPC forthcoming.
The letter was signed by Chet Hagenbarth, town manager, and Steve Finneron, Select Board chair, with the date for filing the actual TIF application listed as Jan. 7, 2022. In addition to the letter, the town’s submission to VEPC included a map showing the proposed boundaries of the TIF district.
The infrastructure in the proposal is for a public water system and major improvements to Killington Road that are critical if the Killington Village Master Plan at Snowshed/Ramshead and affordable housing are to be developed.
“Presently, the town of Killington does not have a municipal water supply system; the entire town is serviced by private wells,” the LOI reads. “For economic growth to occur, a safe and reliable water system is required. The water project plans include providing water from the Valley Wells on Route 4 [behind the Mountain Times], through a new well house, through a transmission line along Route 4 to the high service Pump Station. Treated water from the Pump Station will be pumped approximately 1,450 vertical feet to a new storage reservoir at an elevation of approximately 2,634 feet. From the storage tank, water will be conveyed to the proposed water distribution system along Killington Road and along a small section of Route 4.”
According to the letter, construction is anticipated to commence in 2023. It will occur in four phases over a six-year period.
In addition to the water infrastructure, the letter also outlines necessary improvements to Killington Road, stating: “Killington Road is a major collector that connects U.S. Route 4/VT Route 100 from the north to East Mountain Road and the Killington Ski Resort to the south. There are many issues with this road that hinder private development projects to move forward, including: generally high, and occasionally dangerous, vehicular speeds; poorly accommodated, and occasionally dangerous, turning movements, particularly to and from unsignalized driveways; lack of consistent access management practices; poorly accommodated bus operations; lack of dedicated bicycle infrastructure; lack of dedicated pedestrian infrastructure and safe crossing locations; deficient profile at northern project terminus; side streets and driveway movements experience long delays due to heavy Killington Road volumes during peak traffic times; and poorly graded and drained locations.”
The town has a study and plans for improvements that will address these issues, the letter explained. The road project will also be constructed in four phases over a six year timeframe.
Real Property Development
Development at Killington has been stifled by the lack of public infrastructure, which the proposed projects would remediate. Once built, it would usher in the long-proposed Killington Village at the base of the resort and make possible development of affordable housing.
The letter states: “The Killington Village Master Plan is a plan for the construction of residential, retail, and hospitality at the base of and around the Killington Resort. The full build-out of this master-planned development has an Act 250 Master Plan Review and PUD Approval from the state of Vermont and the town of Killington, respectively. The full build-out encompasses 2,300 units, 438 hotel rooms, and 108,000 square feet of retail on 340 acres. The first phase of the build-out consists of a portion of the Village Core and Ramshead Brook Development Zones. This has its Town Site Plan approval, Act 250 approval, and many state permits (water, wastewater, stormwater, natural resources, etc.) and includes condo units, retail space, a hotel, and the Ramshead Brook residential neighborhood of townhomes and single-family homes. All of these components require supporting infrastructure, including roads (the relocation of Killington Road), water, and wastewater.”
Additionally, it continues: “There are two sizeable parcels in this area that have been conceptualized for various developments over the years and are zoned for high-density, multi-family housing. Given the scale of development and increase in residents and visitors in the town, the need for affordable and workforce housing will grow even greater than the existing need today to provide for employees servicing the new development. “There is no existing affordable housing projects in the town of Killington and there is very few workforce housing options within the town. This results in many employees of the town’s businesses commuting from Rutland and neighboring towns. These two identified parcels do not have known developers interested at this time. However, through initial conversations, the town has learned that these properties are of interest to some housing developers — they are ideally located and would be feasible if municipal water and sewer become available.”
Based on these possible developments, the town has defined the TIF district boundary as “the lands at the base of Killington Resort and the land along Killington Road until Glazebrook Road, Killington Road to Route 4, a cluster of parcels along Killington Road at Nanak Way [Hillside Inn road], a portion of Route 4, and a cluster of parcels on Route 4 that also border Route 100.” The parcel runs mostly along the westerly side of Killington road and includes parcels along Route 4. The area is primarily within the commercial/business zoning districts, which have the highest density zoning in the town.
While the LOI specifies district boundaries and identifies potential areas for affordable housing, it continues to be a “work in progress,” Select Board member Jim Haff emphasized.
The Select Board plans to hold a public hearing on Nov. 30 for residents to learn more about the plans, ask questions and voice their concerns. In early January the board plans to vote on the final application and submit it to VEPC. The board will then continue to meet with VEPC, give the council members a site tour, answer question and provide more information as requested. A final determination from VEPC could be issued as early as April.
After the proposed TIF district is approved, the town will meet with developers to craft an agreement and hold multiple public information sessions before voters will be asked to authorize municipal bonds to finance construction of public infrastructure, which will be paid by the incremental private development taxes and will not increase the municipal tax rate. The resulting private development (the Killington Village master plan, affordable housing and possibly others) will increasing the value of the Grand List.
During the TIF District’s retention period, 85% of the town’s increased property tax revenue is retained to finance its infrastructure debt, as well as 70% of the incremental state tax revenue.