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Contentious Fayston subdivision goes to environmental court

05/01/2008

By Kara Herlihy

A contentious subdivision in Fayston hits Vermont Environmental Court with the return of Robert Crean. Crean is set to appear before the Vermont Environmental Court on May 1 to appeal the decision of the Fayston Development Review Board (DRB); the DRB denied his application for a five-lot subdivision covering 16.5 acres on Slide Brook Road.  

The most recent ruling follows a previously denied application for an eight-lot subdivision and an original appeal to the Vermont Environmental Court last May. Critical bear habitat and travel corridor were cited in both cases.

THE TOWN PLAN

Crean said January 8, 2007, that he still planned to pursue the subdivision pending the state's decision. He purchased the land with the intent to subdivide, he said, and has "done everything by the land use regulations and the town plan."

The DRB's ruling, dated November 28, reports that Crean's proposed subdivision did not meet the requirements of several sections of the Town of Fayston Land Use Regulations and that the proposed subdivision's impact on wildlife habitat and natural areas were both significant and adverse.

NEGATIVE IMPACTS

The ruling also cites "significant negative impacts on sensitive lands, such as the critical bear habitat, critical deer winter habitat, and the bear travel corridor and does not adequately minimize or mitigate those impacts."

The DRB also denied the application for the five-lot subdivision based on evidence of a bear travel corridor, presence of a deer wintering area, and lack of appropriate buffers as presented on the plat.

The findings report, "It is not possible to state that the proposed subdivision will not have an adverse impact on critical deer winter habitat because the applicant did not conduct the necessary investigation of potential deer winter habitat on his property."

BEAR TRAVEL CORRIDOR

The findings also cite the increased travel on Slide Brook Road, which would negatively impact the bear travel corridor, stating that "the proposed upgrade/increased use of Slide Brook Road which would be used to access the proposed subdivision would adversely impact the bear travel corridor and there is no proposal to minimize this impact."

A building permit for one house has been approved by the town and an access permit was granted on November 12.

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