Ski club settles environmental permitting violations

The Vermont Attorney General's office announced recently that a private ski club in southern Vermont has settled a case about land use and environmental permitting laws. 

According to the original complaint, Hermitage Ski Club at Haystack Mountain in Wilmington and Dover failed to obtain a necessary Act 250 land permit before construction began on the ski resort. 

"Act 250 is vital to ensuring that development does not have adverse effects on natural resources, and is consistent with Vermont's historic development patterns of compact villages and city centers surrounded by healthy working forests and farm land," said Jon Groveman, Chair of the Natural Resources Board. "Strong enforcement of significant violations like this is crucial to ensuring the effectiveness of Act 250," he added.

Attorney General Bill Sorrell said that while ski resorts are a critical part of Vermont's tourism industry, development projects must not be allowed to conduct work outside of the state's permitting and environmental standards. 

Other violations at the Hermitage Ski Club include unauthorized construction on dams and in wetlands, repeated failure to comply with stormwater management standards, and discharge of wastewater into state rivers and streams without a permit. 

David Mears, Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation called Hermitage Ski Club's violations "troubling," not just due to the impact they had on the environment but also because of the company's systematic and continual failure to obtain permits and conduct itself in a law abiding manner.

As part of the settlement agreement Hermitage Ski Club has admitted to violating land use and environmental permitting laws. The resort will pay a civil penalty of $205,000.

Land developers should work with environmental consultants prior to and during the construction of new properties to ensure that all local and federal standards are being met.