With the recent news that Mad Bush Lodge has been purchased and will be redeveloped, it’s interesting to take a look at the zoning district where it is located.


Well over a decade ago, Waitsfield created an adaptive re-development overlay district that runs from the Route 100/Route 17 intersection south to Yestermorrow.

It was created to allow property owners to rehabilitate defunct commercial lodging facilities, explained J.B. Weir, Waitsfield’s zoning administrator.

It has been used at American Flatbread and the Lareau Farm to add a pavilion, a greenhouse, rehabilitate a barn to host art exhibits and other events. It’s been used at Yestermorrow, home of the former Alpen Inn, to add a student dorm and several outbuildings.

“The purpose of this district is to allow for the adaptive redevelopment of former
commercial lodging establishments along Route 100 in a manner that promotes and exemplifies principles of sustainable development and design, while also maintaining the rural and scenic character of the Route 100 corridor by allowing for specified uses not otherwise allowed in the Agricultural-Residential District,” the zoning ordinance reads.

It’s applicable only to former lodging establishments that were developed prior to 1980, have 450 feet of Route 100 frontage and at least 15 acres. Among the permitted, after the town development review board approves a required master plan, are student and employee housing, accessory structures, agriculture, childcare facilities, cultural facilities, forestry, gallery, community center, offices, recreation facility, restaurant, small-scale processing, special event and warehousing.

There are also conditional uses, which required DRB approval. Those include a hotel, mixed uses, multi-family dwelling, value-added production and a school.

In addition to a master plan, the review standards require that the development maintains the character of the area in which it is located and 70 percent of the project needs to be maintained as largely contiguous or connected open space. That open space can be used for agriculture, forestry, community gardening, resource protection, renewable energy production, water, wastewater, stormwater, outdoor education and outdoor recreation.

Jonny Adler, new owner of the Mad Bush, will appear before the Waitsfield DRB this spring. The property was last operated as John Egan’s Big World. It was permitted for 16 rooms, a 72-seat restaurant and several apartments.