Vermont Developer Withdraws Massive Proposal that Would Have Destroyed Prime Farmland | Conservation Law Foundation

Vermont Developer Withdraws Massive Proposal that Would Have Destroyed Prime Farmland

Sandy Levine | @CLFLevine

A developer has withdrawn his controversial proposal for partial review of a massive development on valuable farmland at one of Vermont’s most scenic and rural highway exits – Exit 4 in Randolph.

The proposal sought preliminary approval for a project  that encompassed more than one million square feet of development – about the size of ten big box stores. The development would have included office space, residential units, retail space, and a hotel and conference center, all while sacrificing some of the area’s most valuable farmland. Such a huge development is out-of-step with the community’s rural areas and fails to meet even the minimum legal standard to protect the environment.

Exit 4

CLF worked with our partner, Vermont Natural Resources Council (VNRC), and a local citizens group, Exit 4 Open Space, to fight the proposal, testifying before the Act 250 Commission over the course of four days last summer and fall to show why the proposal was illegal and ill-advised. In November, we agreed to a “time-out” with the developer to explore possible resolutions to our and the community’s concerns. At the end of that “time-out” period, the developer decided to withdraw his proposal for partial review altogether.

While this is good news for the Randolph community, this scenic farmland is not out of the woods yet. Going forward, CLF and VNRC will continue our vigilance in protecting the valuable farmland and natural and community resources that make up these beautiful 174 acres of land. We would like to see all, or a vast majority of the land fully protected and in the hands of farmers. If any development is allowed, it must respect the valuable resources at the site and comply with the law. We can’t allow our finite farmland to be trampled for short-term gain and irresponsible development.

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