Talk of a village at the base of Killington is decades old, but plans are now starting to take shape. Last Tuesday, Feb. 28, SP Land Company, LLC. filed its Act 250 permit application for the $133.4 million Phase 1 of development, along with the conceptual Killington Village Master Plan and a revised application for what is referred to as the Overall Subdivision.
Phase I of the Village Master Plan encompasses those elements that are intended to be built over first few years of construction. The Village Core, The Ramshead Brook Subdivision and the Killington Village Water System (Valley Well Field Project & Snowdon Well Field Project) are the major components of Phase 1 development.
The Village Core portion of Phase I includes 193 housing units, 31,622 square feet of commercial space, a 77,000-square-foot base lodge for skier services (which will replace the existing structures), a continuous ski beach connecting Snowshed and Ramshead base areas, relocation of a portion of Killington Road and a new Village Green.
The Ramshead Brook Subdivision portion of Phase I will create 32 residential lots (nine single-family lots and 23 duplex lots.)
Killington Village Water System modification and upgrades are also included in Phase 1 and focus on the Snowdon Well Field Project and the construction of the Valley Well Field Project (on Route 4.)
SP Land is planning four phases of Village Core development and many more overall phases to complete the Village Master Plan.
The Village Master Plan envisions a 20-30 year build-out on approximately 303 of the 1,300 acres owned by SP Land Co. in the community. The 303 acres is broken down into eight Development Zones in an area at the base of Killington Mountain. The eight zones are integrated into the Killington Resort’s infrastructure, including the ski terrain, lodges and roadways. The Village Master Plan includes approximately 200,000 square feet of commercial development, including the 77,000-square-foot base lodge that will replace Ramshead and Snowshed Base Lodges, a Village Green and about 2,300 residential units, which is a comfortable estimate, says president of SP Land Steve Selbo.
Resort villages are becoming ubiquitous at the base of ski areas across the country due to the convenience and accessibility of diverse entertainment that villages offer for guests. In the past 15 years, eight of the 15 alpine resorts in Vermont (not including Killington and Pico) have undergone significant development projects to bring village amenities to their base area.
“Killington deserves this. That’s why we’re here,” said Selbo. “We had options. It came down to Killington or the Canyons at Park City… Killington’s real estate assets were fairly unencumbered, the land trade with the State of Vermont had recently happened. Killington Resort, the biggest resort in the East, deserves something much better at its base… That’s what brought us here and why we are still excited about the Resort’s future.”
NEW BASE LODGE
The new ‘ski beach’ connecting Snowshed to Ramshead ski bases will make for easy access to the Village Core from the slopes. Skier services will be provided in the new 77,000-square-foot lodge, with the Ramshead side 100 percent dedicated to skier services and the Snowshed side a combination of skier service on ground floor and condominiums above.
Ski school programs will continue to be run from the Ramshead side of the lodge, with a new convenient parking area for drop offs. Big busses, Marble Valley buses, and internal buses will have their own lanes to ease congestion.
Monday through Friday parking is designed to fit in the walkable lot nearest the base area. The big hill that is currently between the upper and lower Snowshed lots will be flattened, which will make for one level of parking underground for the residences and fairly flat walking from the parking lots through the Village and onto the ski beach.
For weekend traffic, lower lots will be opened and a resort shuttle will run up Old Mill Road to a designated drop-off area next to the Main Street of the Village.
Killington Road up to the Village will remain the same until just before the Mountain Inn. The road will be relocated to the west throughout the Village Core area. A roundabout will be added to intersect with East Mountain Road and allow for a continuous flow of traffic to the K1 Base area, the Village Core and those areas to the east serviced by East Mountain Road. K1 Base area will continue to be serviced by Killington Road which will pass underneath the new ski beach and continuing up toward K1 Lodge.
In later development phases, Killington Road above the Village Core will be redesigned with current road and stormwater standards along the alignment of the existing Vale Road as the main artery to the K1 Lodge.
“The traffic engineers have concluded that there is no reason traffic-wise for two roads to K1 and the existing Killington Road couldn’t be built today,” said Selbo, explaining that “the road is within the setbacks of the Roaring Brook and the road’s construction is a grandfathered condition as it relates to current stormwater standards… With the Roaring Brook being on the impaired waters list here in the State, we believe correcting this situation will go a long way in restoring the water quality within the brook.”
“The Village Green is an open area that could be used for summer concerts,” Selbo said, adding he had drawn a building on the green for the future concert use, but removed it after talking to the planners from Stowe Resort.
“They had a similar building planned,” Selbo said. “It was designed to hold about 180 people or so, but then the community got behind a plan for something larger and the energy took off and they ended up with a beautiful 400-seat concert hall… So I’ve taken our much smaller concept off the table for the time being and we’ll see how things develop in future phases.”
“There is a lot of variables at this time to produce a timeline. You have the variables of the permitting process, market conditions and access to capital issues,” says Selbo, not wanting to put any guesses on a probable time frame. “Various resorts within Vermont have taken 6, 7 or 8 years to get their village base projects approved and constructed,” he notes.
“We just have to go through the process, and we won’t be in a position to make any offers (retail or residential) until we’re through the permitting process, both State and local.”
Selbo anticipates six to nine months for the Act 250 application to be approved, but the appeals process can last for years. “Hopefully we come through in six-to-nine months and nobody appeals, then we can start thinking market… If someone does appeal, we’ll just have to keep going through the process and hope for speedy courts,” Selbo says.
But the plans have been vetted well and the development process is on track to move forward as soon as the Act 250 permitting is completed.
Last March, Selbo held a design kick off meeting with 25 consultants in a conference room at The Grand. The design team has since completed work including architecture, preliminary structural and mechanical engineer, civil engineering, natural resource assessments, water/wastewater studies, archaeological reviews, economic studies and more.
“So, as soon as we get Phase 1 approved (through Act 250),” Selbo said, “we’ll look at the national and regional conditions and hopefully be in a position to move to the next step of finalizing our permits with the Town of Killington, marketing the project, and getting construction going.”
He estimated they’ll need about 30 people in the office for construction, sales and marketing once they enter that stage of the development. “But I’ll be the guy who is always looking five years in advance,” he said. “Once we get Phase 1 underway, I’ll already be working on the next phases.”