A Fayston landowner has offered to donate a 93-acre parcel of land at the top of Boyce Road to the town. The 93-acre parcel is owned by Ermione LLC and is primarily open land that will become a new venue for public recreation and conservation, according to Liza Walker of the Vermont Land Trust who is working with the property owner and the town on the project.
“Long-known by neighbors for its exceptional beauty, the land includes a spring-fed pond and hilltop that offers expansive views of Burnt Rock and the Green Mountains, the rolling hills of Fayston and the Northfield Mountain range,” Walker said.
Ermione LLC purchased the land in 2011, subject to an eight-lot subdivision. Following an effort in 2018 to amend the permit for four lots, the owner withdrew the subdivision application and reached out to the Vermont Land Trust (VLT) to explore options for the land's conservation and public ownership. The town’s appraised value for the parcel is $500,200.
“Following conversations with the town and VLT, the owner offered to donate the land to the town, subject to a conservation easement held by VLT, so that people can enjoy the property now and for generations to come,” Walker said.
On July 9, the Fayston Select Board voted unanimously to receive the Ermione LLC land, pending agreement on a conservation easement to fulfill the donor's intention for permanent public access and protection from development.
"This is an incredible opportunity for the town," said Jared Cadwell, chair of the Fayston Select Board. "We are amazed by the landowner's generosity and look forward to working with local residents to create a town property for all to enjoy."
Neighbors to the property who attended the July 9 meeting expressed overwhelming support for the town's acceptance of this gift and asked many questions about the kinds of uses that would be allowed on the property. The select board related the plan to work with the Vermont Land Trust and the landowner before the transfer of the land to approve a conservation easement that would enable people to use the land for nonmotorized recreation.
Following the transfer of the property this autumn, the select board, in concert with the Fayston Conservation Commission, will engage the community in a robust management planning effort to gather input, identify the property's values and define allowed uses.
In the meantime, the select board asked the community to respect the private ownership of the property until the land donation is complete and provisions have been made for public access to the land.