Hermitage Club lets go of land, still struggles with permitting
WILMINGTON — The Hermitage Club sold off two properties Friday in hopes of smoother sailing in terms of permitting but still faces the same restriction in moving forward on a ruling.
A warranty deed was filed Friday for the company's property known as the "East Tract," which is an area between its private ski resort at Haystack Mountain and its Deerfield Valley Airport in Dover. The section of land was sold to Comtuck LLC for $500,000. The Hermitage Club purchased East Tract lots for $250,000 in 2013, according to Wilmington land records.
The airport and associated property were purchased by 4V8 LLC for $500,000. A $2 million mortgage deed was filed with the Hermitage Inn Real Estate Holding Company as the mortgage holder and 4V8 as the borrower. This property had been acquired by the Hermitage Club in the same year as the East Tract. A purchase-and-sale agreement was signed by the Hermitage Club on April 26, 2013, according to Dover land records, and the deed was filed on June 19, 2013.
Shedding the properties was seen as a way to move along faster in the state's Act 250 permitting process. The Hermitage Club had previously told the District #2 Environmental Commission that it would divest itself of ownership of the properties by selling them to "third parties in arms-length transactions" if the commission declined to issue partial findings of fact for plans near Haystack. The company has proposed a 93-unit hotel near the mountain. Approval of a master plan for the resort is needed before construction can begin. The hope was to start building the hotel this summer.
The commission denied the company's request to alter a master plan permit application because it violates a rule in Act 250 permitting that says an applicant can only make one motion to alter. This marks a third motion to alter.
The commission also took issue with the land deeds, saying they contained a blanket easement for airport-related facilities, easements for utilities and rights of way for travel.
"The applicant (Hermitage Club) continues to exercise control over the future use and development of the East Tract and Airport Tract for the project applied for in the Act 250 application," the commission wrote in a decision signed Friday. "Accordingly, the commission cannot agree that the applicant exercises no control over the future use or development of the East Tract or the Airport Tract."
The Hermitage Club received a recess order on an Act 250 permit for its master plan on May 19. The DEC had concerns about minimizing impacts to the wetlands and whether an airport expansion project fit into the Windham Regional Transportation Plan. Several other documents involving wildlife habitat, water quality and road design also were requested.
The commission had said it had concerns about the natural resources that would be impacted by the construction of East Tract Road.
"The applicant (Hermitage Club) testified that the primary purpose of the road was the convenience of transporting guests from the airport to the Hermitage Club and that the secondary purpose would be emergency access," the recess order said, referring to a proposed road in the master plan.
Contact Chris Mays at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-254-2311, ext. 273.
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