Resort will pay into fund for affordable housing

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(Host) The Stowe Mountain Resort has agreed to pay about a quarter of a million dollars to help develop affordable housing in the Lamoille County region. Stowe promised to make the housing payment during a recent Act 250 hearing that examined the economic impact of the resort’s $220 million expansion.

VPR’s John Dillon reports:

(Dillon) Four other Vermont ski resorts – Stratton, Okemo, Mount Snow and Killington – have also paid to offset the impact of their developments on a tight housing market. In Stowe’s case, the resort plans a major expansion that includes new snowmaking, a new base lodge, and more than 400 new housing units.

But as the resort grows, hundreds of new workers will also need a place to live. State officials told a recent Act 250 hearing that there’s already a shortage of affordable housing in the area. The average sales price of a house in Stowe last year was $327,000. Yet the cost of affordable housing in Lamoille County is around $70,000. Stowe resort planning director Rob Apple says the company can be part of the solution.

(Apple) “Is it the responsibility of the Mt. Mansfield company to solve the housing problems in Lamoille County completely? No. But can we be a partner and should we be a partner and a participant in a county-wide effort? Absolutely.”

(Dillon) Apple says the resort has agreed to expand its own employee housing by 24 rooms. It has also promised to pay about $250,000 into a fund to help develop affordable housing in the area.

The fund will be administered by the state Housing and Conservation Board. Jim Libby is the board’s general counsel. He says the money can be leveraged with other funds to help subsidize housing projects.

(Libby) “What we’ve said is if the ski area is willing to make a payment, we would be willing to act as the recipient of that payment. And when there was adequate funds and there was a project that could be developed in the geographical area of the resort expansion, we would entertain proposals from local groups and the ski area funds could be matched with other state and federal funds that we administer to actually get some housing built.”

(Dillon) Libby said the Housing Conservation Board has participated in similar programs with other resort expansion projects.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m John Dillon.

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