Hartford to Update Town Plan

Changes Won’t Impact Quechee Highlands

Hartford — The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing Monday night on proposed changes to the town’s Master Plan, including eliminating the “growth center” designation for an area near the Interstate 89 Exit 1 interchange in Quechee.

Planning Commission Chairman Bruce Riddle said the changes are intended to bring the town plan “into conformance with state requirements” and the regional plan from the Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission.

The changes are needed to help Hartford win approval of its Master Plan from Two Rivers, thereby enabling the town to qualify for more grant programs and to levy impact fees, Riddle said.

The fact that Two Rivers does not regard the Quechee district as a “growth center” was a key factor last year in the District 3 Environmental Commission’s denial of an Act 250 permit for the first phase of the proposed Quechee Highlands project, a mixed-use development proposed for a 168-acre parcel near the Quechee Mobil station.

The commission also cited traffic impacts along Route 4 in its denial. The developer, B&M Realty, has appealed the ruling in Superior Court.

Riddle said the Master Plan changes would have “no effect” on the zoning rules that govern the Quechee Highlands project.

“These changes are not about the Quechee Highland’s project and would have taken place regardless of this project or any other project in town,” he wrote on the Hartford Listserv.

Two Rivers Executive Director Peter Gregory also said the proposed changes would have “no impact” on the Quechee Highlands application because it has already received its required town permits.

Two Rivers will not weigh in on Monday’s local hearing, but Gregory said the changes would bring Hartford’s plan closer into alignment with the regional commission’s plan.

Scott Milne, one of the developers behind B&M Realty, said via email that he expects “zero impact on Quechee Highlands and our plans there, no matter what happens with the proposed changes,” from the proposals being discussed Monday.

“I support local planning over regional planning when local has experience and resources like Hartford,” Milne wrote.

The public hearing will be held at 6:30 p.m. Monday in the Hartford Municipal Building.

Jordan Cuddemi can be reached at jcuddemi@vnews.com or 603-727-3248.