Jonny Adler, who purchased the former Mad Bush/Egan’s Big World property in Waitsfield, will bring his plans for a 72-seat restaurant and 16-room/two apartment lodging facility and recreation base camp to the Waitsfield Development Review Board next week.
Per the project narrative submitted in advance of the May 24 Development Review Board (DRB), “The property will become a base camp for bikers, skiers and outdoor lovers -- a recreation facility with a mission statement “to share Vermont’s splendor with all who love to be outside and create incredible riding experiences for those who choose to get after it.”
The 18-acre property is in Waitsfield’s adaptive redevelopment overlay district which requires a master plan and which Lareau Farm/American Flatbread and Yestermorrow have also used to add uses which were not previously allowed.
Adler is seeking to redevelop the property to include the restaurant, lodging and to convert 1,600-square-feet into a bike/ski essentials shop. Lodging will include renovating two second-floor apartments and an office into a flex apartment that can be rented as one or two units. When last operational the permitted capacity was for 69 guests. Adler’s narrative proposed beds for 62 guests. The entire 13,600-square-feet of the main building will be renovated.
Part of that work will include energy efficiency improvements, replacing exterior walls, insulation and exterior siding to manage moisture issues as well as replacing slabs with insulated slabs.
A disused underground tank will be removed and an abandoned well will be filled. Water will come from a different well that provides 28 gallons per minute. New energy-efficient heat pumps will be installed along with a new commercial kitchen.
The project plans call for 42 parking spaces and some of that parking will be moved to the back/west side of the building. Additionally, there will be improvements in ADA compliance.
Adler is requesting a waiver from a requirement for a traffic volume report, noting that traffic will be consistent with a 72-seat restaurant, 18-key hotel, and a small volume of day use visitors. less than 100 trips per day.
“We do not believe this will have a measurable impact on Route 100 traffic,” the narrative points out.
In terms of the character of the area affect, Adler’s narrative pointed out that he will be renovating the existing structure within its existing footprint and making improvements to the driveway, walkways and parking.
“The property is blessed with big, beautiful maple, oak, and hemlock trees which we plan to leave as is. We think reviving the building will improve community vibrancy and fall within the standards of the Waitsfield Town Plan, AR Overlay District, and other conditions contemplated in Section 5.03, Adler noted.
“Waitsfield’s Adaptive Redevelopment Overlay District was created to encourage the redevelopment of a handful of existing properties to become better economic and cultural contributors. We have paid close attention to the regulations and believe that our plan to rehabilitate the aging structures and reopen the business fits well within town ordinance and the goals of the Adaptive Redevelopment Overlay District,” Adler’s project narrative continues.
The property features a waterfall on a stream at the northeastern part of the land. It is surrounded by mature trees which will remain undisturbed. There is a small area designated as wetlands near the river and a narrow floodplain corridor which will remain undisturbed, per the permit application.
Regarding Route 100 scenic road standards, the application states that
“the project should create a marked improvement in the scenic characteristics from the Route 100 by replacing an abandoned decrepit building and an overgrown property with a well-maintained community resource focused on bringing out the property’s many beautiful natural property features. The previous parking for the project was in the middle of the field to the north of the main building, viewable
from Route 100 and very much interfering with the largest open space on the property. We will move much of the parking to the west side of the building tucked up against the ravine wall to the south. This is important for safety to keep vehicular traffic away from the common areas on the property that will be heavily used by visitors on foot, and keeps the view of the open field intact from the road. We will further screen the parking area with a tall hedge or trees.”
Rider’s Outpost will keep lighting downcast to minimize ambient light and visibility from adjacent property. Any new paths and parking with feature landscaping with native plants.
Adler hopes to start development immediately upon approval with a target completion date next spring.
The Mad Bush/Egan’s Big World property was purchased for $1.5 million in November. Adler is a lifelong avid skier and mountain biker. He moved to Vermont in 2001.