A southern Vermont private ski resort is moving ahead with a massive development project on Haystack Mountain.
The Hermitage wants to develop a members-only resort on about 200 acres in Wilmington and Dover. The master plan lays out the project details and begins what will likely be a lengthy Act 250 process.
Hermitage Club Director of Communications Meredith Morin says the company will now have to wait to hear from the District 2 Environmental Commission to see if all of the documents are in place to begin hearings.
"This is a major moment to have our Act 250 permit complete, and we do look forward to the next steps in this process," Morin says. "It's far from over, as anyone who does development anywhere knows, but we're really excited about the process."
Membership in the private club is $75,000 with annual fees of $6,500.
In October, the resort agreed to pay $72,000 in fines and restitutions after running afoul of environmental regulators while excavating a snowmobile trail in the Green Mountain National Forest. And in May, it agreed to pay $205,000 in civil penalties for starting a number of construction projects without the necessary Act 250 permits.
Now, the company says it expects to develop more than 600 new residential units on the mountain through 2025. Plans also include four mountain restaurants, up to three hotels and a new snowmaking system.
During the 10-year construction period The Hermitage says it will spend $285 million and create, on average, about 235 full-time jobs each year.
During the busiest construction seasons The Hermitage says it will employ more than 400 people on development projects. When the resort is fully operational in 2025 the company says about 550 people will be directly employed on the mountain.
"Well, the master plan that we've filed with the Natural Resources Board goes through the period of 2025," says Morin. "And we do project significant employment growth through that time."
Wilmington Zoning Administrator Craig Ohlson says the town will take part in the Act 250 hearings, but he says the town has not yet taken a formal stance on the project.
The Hermitage Club is asking for a pre-hearing with the District 2 Act 250 Commission in December to ensure it will be able to line up financing for the 93-unit hotel, which the company hopes to begin building during the 2016 construction season.