Hermitage updates board
by Jack Deming
Jun 20, 2013 | 9242 views | 0 0 comments | 608 608 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bob Harrington and Bob Fisher discuss the master plan for Haystack Mountain.
Bob Harrington and Bob Fisher discuss the master plan for Haystack Mountain.
WILMINGTON- Representatives from Hermitage Inn Real Estate Holding Company met with the Development Review Board on Monday, applying to make updates to their master plan for developing Haystack Mountain.

Hermitage is proposing construction of four projects within the next year. Those projects include building two mini-restaurant cabins at an elevation of 2,800 feet, a 3,000-foot transfer lift, and new stream withdrawal stations on Cold Brook and Haystack Brook.

Hermitage is also applying to change their existing plan for nine single-family homes in New England Village to 11 buildings containing 14 dwellings. As part of the New England Village, Hermitage is also applying to build a 3,000-square-foot chapel with a 100-seat capacity, to provide a venue for ceremonies such as weddings.

Hermitage plans on building six of the 11 homes this year and five next year, including three duplexes to bring the unit number to 14. Each of the buildings will be sold as town houses that belong to a housing association.

According to Hermitage attorney Bob Fisher, a town home association is in existence for the New England Village, and once a certain number of town houses have been sold, the Hermitage will convey the rights entirely to that association. Each town house will include a two-car garage and a two-space driveway.

DRB member Andy Schindel asked what the difference was between single-family town houses and the single-family houses that were previously proposed. Fisher explained that by building single-family town houses, setbacks can be more condensed and a higher density building can be constructed. Fisher also said the proposed hotel and condominium developments in the master plan will be part of separate associations as each has its own set of laws to abide by.

“We had a permit to build the original nine homes, but we didn’t,” said Fisher. “Now we’re asking for 11 versus nine in the same area.

“Each home’s deed will be for the footprint of the foundation,” continued Fisher. “They will have limited rights to the common land immediately surrounding the house.”

DRB member Frank Sprague asked the Hermitage representatives to explain those rights. Hermitage co-founder Bob Rubin explained that the limited town house land would consist of shrubbery and walkways, “So not everyone in the association will have the right to put their lawn chair in front of your house.”

The lower mountain will serve as a large common area for the association’s residents, but Rubin explained he and surveyor Ben Joyce had not yet figured out the overall acreage for the association.

The Hermitage representatives also explained plans for two 30-by-40 cabins at a 2,800-foot elevation. These cabins will serve as mini-restaurants for private functions, only accessible by lifts, skiing, and snow cabs. Schindel asked the Hermitage representatives how they would foresee a police or fire issue being addressed, due to the cabins’ distance and accessibility. Engineer Bob Harrington said it was no more of an issue than the summit cabin’s accessibility.

Harrington also said the cabins’ design had not been fully developed yet, but when drawings are finished, Wilmington Fire Chief Ken March would be consulted.

DRB chair Nicki Steel asked if lighting from the cabins would be visible from the valley below, to which Harrington said yes. Shindel asked what had happened to a plan that would have a security officer in place by November 2012. Fisher explained that the Hermitage had run into a problem with their insurance carrier in creating the position, and will opt to hire a security firm in the future.

A 3,000-foot transfer lift is included in the Hermitage application as well. The lift will begin at the base of the lower mountain and include a midstation for skiers to exit the lift and use the lower trails, or proceed to the top.

Last, the Hermitage is asking for approval of a plan to build two new withdrawal stations this year, and a new water transfer line from Haystack Brook to Mirror Lake. According to Rubin, the current withdrawal station at Cold Brook does not meet water passage standards and a new 10-by-12 structure will be erected. Another will be constructed at Haystack Brook for the water transfer line to Mirror Lake. This will help facilitate future plans which include expanding Mirror Lake’s capacity to 28 million gallons, increasing the lake berm by eight feet.

Laurie Newton, representing Mount Snow, raised two concerns. Newton first asked that the board consider a condition of approval that Hermitage obtain all necessary storm water permits before any construction. “Any discharge into either Mirror Lake or Cold Brook could impact, for Mount Snow and Hermitage, the snowmaking operation,” said Newton.

Newton also voiced concerns over the withdrawal capacity of a new line into Cold Brook. “Mount Snow and Hermitage currently take a certain amount of water from Cold Brook,” said Newton. “As soon as you make a change, like adding another withdrawal point, you have to meet the current minimum standards. Have you run the numbers to make sure we’re not losing more water? Will the amount of water we can take from Cold Brook be less? And how is that going to be more than replaced by water from Haystack Brook?”

“ The agreement says we share the water 50-50,” said Rubin. “As we, say, put a withdrawal in, we have to abide by new levels.”

Rubin estimated the change would cause a difference of a few hundred gallons a minute, which he called “not a big impact,” because the two resorts used approximately 111 million of the 180 million they were allowed to use last year.

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