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Spector subdivision decision due next week

 By Lisa Loomis

The fate of Allan Spector's six-lot subdivision on German Flats in Fayston will be unveiled next week when Fayston Planning Commission renders its decision on his application.

Circus Smirkus
The circus came to town. Circus Smirkus at The BundyCenter for the Arts. Photo: Ellie Hilferty

 

The commission will meet to finish its deliberations on the project on July 18. Parts of that meeting deal with topics other than the Spector subdivision and will be open to the public. The commission's work on the Spector project will be behind closed doors.

Spector's subdivision calls for creating six lots on 28.7 acres on German Flats Road, north of Horseshoe Road. That land that may lie within what is considered bear habitat. The issue of bear habitat has been at the forefront of the Fayston Planning Commission's work so far this year.
Circus Smirkus
The circus came to town. Circus Smirkus at The BundyCenter for the Arts. Photo: Ellie Hilferty

The Spector subdivision is the second subdivision to come before the board. Both his subdivision and one proposed by Robert Crean are located near the Slide Brook area, a tract of land on the west side of German Flats between Sugarbush South and Sugarbush North. Currently, Sugarbush has one lift, the Slide Brook Intertie Lift, in that area. It is heavily conditioned by the state in terms of when it can operate due to the fact that it runs through what is considered critical bear habitat.

When the planning commission denied Crean's subdivision application, it cited bear habitat as a major concern. The issue of what is 'bear habitat' and what is 'critical' bear habitat was discussed at both subdivision hearings. Crean's subdivision might have had a greater impact on bear habitat, according to the wildlife resource maps provided, than Spector's subdivision, which is lower in elevation.

Spector's engineer, Gunner McCain, told the planning commission that Spector's subdivision, calling for six building lots at a lower elevation, will have less of an impact on bear habitat than building two houses at uses by right at higher elevations on the land Spector owns. He owns two adjoining lots and on each house, building a single family home is a use by right and not regulated by the town.

Crean is appealing Fayston's denial of a five-lot subdivision in what is considered to be prime bear habitat in the Slide Brook area off German Flats.

The appeal was filed in Vermont Environmental Court on May 30. Crean sought permits to build a five-lot subdivision and improve Slide Brook Road to gain access to his lots. The Crean parcel sits on 16 acres located off of German Flats Road in Fayston. His land lies near the corridor where Sugarbush's Slide Brook Intertie lift connects Lincoln Peak and Mount Ellen.

Bear habitat was a critical factor in the permitting of that lift and the conditions that run with the lift are extensive in terms of protecting habitat.

In the Crean denial the Planning Commission cited findings from Sugarbush's Act 250 permit that included the following: "According to the leader of the State of Vermont black bear management team, the bear habitat in the Slide Brook area is concentrated, identifiable and crucial to the survival of black bears. The total volume of beech trees in the Slide Brook basin could be as high as 25,000 trees. Without any question, the Slide Brook beech stand ranks as one of the most intensively used beech stands in Vermont. It is the largest beech stand in Vermont known to date."

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