Permits extended for brewpub, hotel

WILMINGTON — Permits for a brewpub and a hotel were extended as project leaders experienced challenges along the way.

Approval for the Hermitage Club's proposed 184,000-square-foot, 79-foot-tall condominium hotel with 83 units and seven duplex villas at 177 Fannie Hill expired in September. At a hearing last month, the company's president and attorney testified that the project was delayed because of financial issues. The company — which runs a private ski resort at Haystack Mountain, a golf course, and several inns and restaurants in the Deerfield Valley — has experienced struggles as Berkshire Bank has sought foreclosure on a number of its properties.

The Development Review Board "finds that the applicant has made a good faith effort to exercise on the permit but has been prevented from moving forward due to financial concerns," board members wrote in a decision to grant a one-year extension of the permit.

Hermitage officials had asked for two more years to complete the project. But because of ordinance changes that would now limit the hotel to being 38-feet high, the board granted an extension of the permit a year from when the original permit expired.

The project will need to be "substantially complete" by September, Zoning Administrator Craig Ohlson told the Reformer. The Hermitage opted not to request a reconsideration of the hearing.

The Hermitage expects to get water and sewer rights from the Cold Brook Fire District after rights from the hotel project were transferred to town homes constructed for the company. Bob Fisher, an attorney for the company, told the DRB the transferals will be required so there is no violation of the state wastewater permit.

Honora Winery and Vineyard's delay on the brewpub on Route 9 East had to do with obtaining the state's Act 250 permit. Local approval expired in February, about three months after the state approved the project.

The DRB "concludes that the applicant has made a good faith effort to exercise the permit but has been prevented from moving forward due to Act 250 approval," board members wrote in a decision to grant a two-year extension of the permit.

One barn is expected to include a brewpub, a 16-seat tasting room for beer and wine with "associated retail sales," and a patio. Another barn will have a brewery and a second retail space. A third barn will have a one-bedroom apartment, a brewpub, and a restaurant with a kitchen and seating for up to 36 people.

The hope is to open part of the business in the fall. But local and company officials are still figuring out how to proceed with wastewater requirements.

During a visit with U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., earlier this month, the town's economic development consultant Gretchen Havreluk said she is working with the U.S. Economic Development Administration to help build a municipal sewer line out to barns where Honora is planning the brewpub and the Southwestern Vermont Medical Center's Deerfield Valley campus is set to expand.

Ohlson does not know the cost but said it will be expensive. A pump station also will be needed.

Reach staff writer Chris Mays at, at @CMaysBR on Twitter and 802-254-2311, ext. 273.


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