Company’s 10-year Master Plan earns state approval
WILMINGTON, Vt., February 16, 2017 — The Hermitage Club at Haystack Mountain, the only private ski resort on the East Coast, today received notification that its Act 250 permit was approved by the state of Vermont.
This approval will pave the way for the Hermitage Club’s 10-Year Master Plan for the development of Haystack Mountain and the surrounding area, including an expansion of ski terrain, the construction of a 93-unit condo hotel on property, as well as a further build out of ski homes and townhouses across the mountain. The District 2 Environmental Commission’s decision doesn’t grant complete construction authority, but offer partial and preliminary findings on Act 250 criteria for projects that fall under the scope of the plan. According to the District 2 Environmental Commission, “Each construction project will require a separate application, and the applicant will need to demonstrate conformance with criteria which were not granted affirmative findings in this decision.”
Vermont’s Land Use and Development Act, known as Act 250, was passed in 1970 by the Vermont legislature and designed to mitigate the effects of development through an application process that addresses the environmental and community impacts of projects that exceed a size threshold. The law created nine District Environmental Commissions to review large-scale development projects, such as the Hermitage Club’s Master Plan, using 10 criteria that are designed to safeguard the environment, community life and aesthetic character of the state. These commissions have the power to issue or deny a permit to real estate developers for any project that encompasses more than 10 acres. Act 250 also created the Vermont Environmental Board to review appeals coming from District Commission rulings.
“We’re so excited to finally cross the finish line on our master plan approval,” said Jim Barns, President and Founder of the Hermitage Club. “So much time and energy has been spent pursuing this, and I am so proud of our team.”
Since 2007, the Hermitage Club has purchased several tracts of land and combined them into one, with a total investment of nearly $300 million over the duration of the Master Plan. More than $100 million has been invested in the Deerfield Valley region in the last four years, with the Club completing numerous of residential and commercial construction projects, including a 90,000-square-foot clubhouse, a heated high-speed chair lift, more than two dozen luxury homes and town homes, and the renovation of six inns in Wilmington and Dover.
With the completion of the permit process, which took more than two years and required a tremendous investment of money and intellectual capital on the part of the Hermitage Club, the next phases of development can begin. According to Bob Rubin, the Club’s Vice President of Construction and Development, the focus will now be on home construction, including both final touches on existing townhomes as well as numerous new housing starts across the property.
“Over the next two years we would like to continue building our great town homes, single family homes, and one hotel building,” Rubin said. “We are excited to have this major permit under our belts. We thank the many people who have helped us along the way. Now it’s time to get back to work.”
The Club’s total investment throughout the Master Plan will generate nearly $6 million in education taxes annually through 2025, according to a Growth & Fiscal Impact Analysis compiled by Doug Kennedy Advisors for The Hermitage Club. The study estimates that 235 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs will be created throughout the impact period up to 2025 due to construction. All employment, including construction, club operations, indirect and induced employment totals will reach nearly 750 FTEs at the plan’s completion in 2025.
According to state’s findings of fact, at completion the master plan will generate $2.1 million in annual municipal property taxes (estimated based on current municipal property tax rate) and generate $5.9 million in annual Education Fund revenues (based on current tax rate).
Assuming that the student population in Wilmington increases by a maximum of eight students as a result, the build out of the master plan, the Hermitage Club development will annually contribute $734,500 per student to the Education Fun
“We’re so thankful to the folks in the Deerfield Valley who continued to support us through this process,” Barnes said. “We’ve invested more than $135 million in this region over the last four years, and this approval will enable us to keep driving the local economy. With so many jobs to fill, products to purchase and projects to undertake, our long-term development of both the Club and mountain will have a lasting ripple effect throughout the entire Deerfield Valley.”
Jim Barnes, Bob Rubin and other members of the executive team are available for questions and interviews.