Wilmington DRB to review Hermitage Club master plan


WILMINGTON -- Although attorney Bob Fisher spent two hours explaining to the Planning Commission the details of the Hermitage Club's master plan, the commission may not have enough time to weigh in on whether it's compliant with the Town Plan.

"They'd love to say in their filing that the Planning Commission has signed off seeing their master plan," said commission chairwoman Wendy Manners.

She later said it was a pretty massive plan and that it generates a lot of questions. Other commission members agreed that a letter should be drafted indicating that there was not enough time for review.

According to Fisher, the Hermitage Club aims to have the plan sent to the state by the end of new week.

"This is such short notice," commission vice chairwoman Lynne Matthews said.

Fisher met with members of the commission, explaining several maps and plans for two hours on Monday night as he represented the Hermitage Club. He and others are involved in writing different sections of the application to be sent into the state. In the future, when a public hearing is held, the commission will have party status with or without a letter attached to the application.

The maps focused on three main areas that the Hermitage Club has developed and wishes to develop further. Those areas include its golf course, the Deerfield Valley Airport and sections along Cold Brook Road near Haystack Mountain, the private ski resort owned and operated by the Hermitage Club.

The Wilmington Development Review Board already approved an extension of the runway at the airport. However, Fisher said those plans may change now that it is up for Act 250 review. The DRB may have to look at changed plans as the extension may be proposed for a different section of the property.

Fisher told the commission that a lot of the plans for building largely depend on whether the state approves of the request for plans to be kept under "umbrella status from original permits from 1970." Some of the plans were given that status in 1985 but now agencies were taking a different stance, he said.

"The original permit says you can build all this as long as you have sewer and wastewater. It was one of the first Act 250 permits," he added. "The question is does that permit still apply?"

There are talks of possibly putting up four hotels on Hermitage Club property. Fisher spoke of the DRB's approving a hotel and a condominium building.

"But we haven't gone in with the actual construction application for either of those because we'll need architectural drawings and footprints and all that kind of stuff," he said.

An application for a replacement lift is currently being heard by the DRB while a new base lodge is being constructed. One section of town homes is under construction and were completely sold out. There are plans for other housing units.

Fisher said the master plan could be considered "the aerial view" and it would not require measurements for proposed buildings. From there, he added, applications for upcoming projects could be more streamlined as far as state approval goes.

Representatives from the Hermitage Club had previously met with the Windham Regional Commission to see whether the master plan would be in compliance with the regional plan. They asked the WRC to submit a letter also.

Manners said she would write a letter raising concerns from the commission and bring it up at a special meeting warned for Monday, Aug. 11. The letter cannot be issued until approved by the commission.

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or cmays@reformer.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.


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