Hermitage Stag's Leap

Ham Hodgman of Steven & Associates shows a map of the Stag's Leap project. 

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WILMINGTON — Efforts are underway to secure local and state approval to finish up some long neglected construction of homes near the lower mountain of the private ski resort run by Hermitage Members Club Inc.

“We’re basically doing a resubmit with some minor changes,” Ham Hodgman of Steven & Associates, representing the club, told the Wilmington Development Review Board at a hearing Monday. “In essence, it’s completing the project that was partially done when the mountain went under.”

Permits for construction on Stag’s Leap Lane timed out when the club went bankrupt under prior ownership, requiring the new owners to go through the process again. Hodgman said two of the eight six-bedroom houses were built to completion and one of the houses had a foundation built.

“But then the club went under,” he said. “I suppose they sat on putting any more money into the development.”

The proposal calls for constructing the remaining six homes at 19, 22, 25, 27, 26 and 38 Stag’s Leap Lane with new driveways to be built with retaining walls and improvements to stormwater infrastructure. Power, wastewater and water services will be connected to existing infrastructure.

The properties fall within a planned-unit development and the plan for the buildout needs conditional use approval from the board. Final approval hinges upon the state’s review.

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Hodgman described how the homeowners would own the houses but be part of a homeowners association sharing ownership of the property. He said the homes would “end up on the grand list,” bringing in more tax revenue for the town.

Individual homeowners are responsible for planting their own trees, he said, but “we have the right to pull them away.”

Using a map, Hodgman pointed out the former home of Jim Barnes and a property where the television show “The Bachelor Winter Games” was filmed in 2018. Barnes previously owned companies that operated the Hermitage Club before financial issues led to properties going into foreclosure and a March 2020 bankruptcy auction put the club into the hands of members who restarted the club last ski season with General Manager Bill Benneyan at the helm.

For development at Stag’s Leap, Hodgman said the Wilmington Fire Department provided feedback on access to fire trucks. One of the driveways needed to be a little longer than first proposed.

The board has 45 days from closing the hearing Monday to issue a decision. Other Hermitage projects under the planned-unit development approved by the DRB this year involved improvements on the mountain including a maintenance building for snow groomers and a magic carpet ski lift.