Santa's Land wants OK for campground


PUTNEY -- The owners of Santa's Land are seeking approval to open a campground at the embattled roadside attraction on Route 5.

Lillian Billewicz, the owner of Santa's Land, has a zoning permit application filed with the Putney Development Review Board for a camping area for 15 tents within the stockade fence on the site.

She also wants to add a shower to the existing bathroom.

The Putney Development Review Board will hold a public hearing and site visit to Santa's Land on July 15.

The DRB will meet at 6:30 p.m. at Santa's Land for the public site visit and then return to Putney Town Hall at 7 p.m. for the DRB hearing.

Calls to the phone number on the zoning permit application were not answered and the phone at Santa's Land is disconnected.

Santa's Land's Facebook page was also recently taken down.

Billewicz, 56, and Brian Deistler, 25, both of Westminster, pleaded not guilty to animal cruelty charges on April 29 after the Windham County Sheriff's Department discovered 18 dead animals on the property on Feb. 28.

Billewicz and Deistler are awaiting the disposition of their case.

According to the most recent zoning application, Billewicz is seeking approval to put the 15 tent sites near Route 5 on the eastern edge of the property.

Billewicz, in her application, says she wants to add lighting and put up a stockade fence behind the existing fence to set the camping area off away from the rest of the park.

Billewicz claims that she has spoken with an agent of the Vermont Department of Natural Resources about the camping application. She also said she met with Putney Fire Chief Tom Goddard about the plan.

In March 2014 the Putney DRB approved a conditional use permit for the Igloo Restaurant at Santa's Land.

The restaurant had been closed for 16 years and Billewicz said she wanted to open it up for the upcoming season. She said at the DRB hearing that she wanted to have the restaurant open year round.

Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at or 802-254-2311, ext. 279.


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