• Lylehaven Farm holdings up for subdivision
    By Amy Ash Nixon
     | August 07,2014

    EAST MONTPELIER — Three subdivisions are proposed on large sections of properties held by Lylehaven Farm, and the Development Review Board got its first look this week at what is planned.

    According to a project description discussed at Tuesday’s meeting, agricultural fields would be separated out and conveyed to Fairmont Farms Inc., also of East Montpelier, while creating three large parcels for resale, some of which already have a home and other buildings on them.

    No new development is planned as part of any of the three subdivisions, according to Craig Chase of Chase & Chase, a surveying firm based in Barre, who represented Lylehaven Farm and owner Jerome Rappaport at the meeting.

    Chase sought and received from the board a declaration that all three of the proposed subdivisions would be considered minor, meaning they can be addressed at a single meeting, possibly as early as Sept. 2, according to the town and zoning administrator, Bruce Johnson.

    But first, the dozens of abutting landowners in both East Montpelier and Plainfield must be notified. “We have to notify a lot, a lot, a lot of people,” Chase said.

    According to him, the plans call for divvying up three large tracts within Lylehaven Farm’s holdings.

    The subdivision dubbed “Steve’s Carveout,” at 860 Drake Road, would involve splitting a 357-acre property with an existing home and outbuildings on it into one lot of 28.2 acres for resale, with the residence and outbuildings on it, and a second lot of 329 acres.

    The larger piece is undeveloped land that is intended to be conveyed to Fairmont Farms Inc., according to the project description distributed at Tuesday’s meeting.

    The second proposed subdivision, called the “Wooded Carveout,” is at 355 Vermont Route 14 South. It would see an undeveloped 73-acre parcel cut into two lots: one 42.5-acre lot of wooded land for resale, and the remaining 30.5 acres to be conveyed to Fairmont Farms Inc.

    The third subdivision is being called the “Route 14 Carveout,” described as being between East Hill Road, Vermont Route 14 South and Clark Road. This section would see a 188-acre property cut into three lots: one 41.5-acre parcel with an existing residence and farm buildings west of Route 14, set aside for resale; a second lot of 13.8 acres of undeveloped land to be conveyed to Fairmont Farms; and the balance of the land, 133 acres “lying between Route 14 and the Plainfield line,” also to be conveyed to Fairmont Farms.

    Chase said that in almost all instances, the lands have already been surveyed, except along one boundary, where Chase’s firm has done a survey for the abutter. The board OK’d a waiver request for the surveying requirement.

    With so many abutters, and likely interest among other people, the board discussed moving the subdivision hearings from the usual meeting location in the town offices — perhaps to the East Montpelier Fire Department building or East Montpelier Elementary School — to have space for an expected crowd.

    “We could hold it up to Lylehaven — there’s plenty of room up there,” joked Johnson.

    Chase asked Johnson, “Does each individual (abutting) landowner in Plainfield have to be notified?” and was told they do.

    “We’ll give you the town clerk’s name,” said Johnson. “The rest of it is up to you.”

    Chase said the drawing showing the three subdivisions planned within the Lylehaven property and the two-page explanation will be sent to all the neighbors of the project, in both Plainfield and East Montpelier, before the hearing is warned, so that people know what is happening.

    “We’re hoping to kind of answer their questions so they aren’t showing up just to see what’s going on, that they already have an idea what’s going on,” he said.

    In the project summary, the applicant notes, “Because each of the proposed subdivisions are of parent parcels held under separate title — two of which are noncontiguous — and each being of three or fewer lots with no development proposed, each are ‘minor’ subdivisions under the Land Use & Development Regulations of the Town of East Montpelier.”

    Johnson said there is no formal application before the town yet.

    “Assuming the subdivision applications are in by Aug. 13, the DRB hearings will likely be held Sept. 2,” he said Wednesday. The location is not yet decided, but will be in the warning to be issued by the end of next week, he said.

    According to Johnson, Rappaport owns about 851 acres in the town. He said the three properties being proposed for subdivision, plus 208.7 acres at the main farm location at 141 Lylehaven Road, make up the full Lylehaven Farm holdings in East Montpelier.

    @Tagline:amy.nixon @timesargus.com

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