Sugarbush has applied to the town of Warren for two separate workforce housing developments, one the redevelopment of three lots on the Sugarbush Access Road and Golf Course Road as two-bedroom, four-bedroom and six-bedroom houses.
The other project, located between the Sugartree Lodge and the SHaRC on the former Rosita’s Restaurant parcel calls for 192 units in a four-story building. The Rosita’s project includes 16 studio apartments and 176 single-bedrooms.
The first project, the single-family home project, the Sugar Cube project involves four small nonconforming lots, one of which has a home on it. Sugarbush owns two of the lots, one lot is owned by John Hammond, Sugarbush president and the other lot with existing the home is owned by the Principe family.
The resort filed applications with the town’s development review board on January 3, 2023. Sugarbush director of planning Margo Wade, along with Hammond and Jim Westhelle, Sugarbush vice-president of real estate, appeared before the Warren Planning Commission at its meeting on Monday, January 9, to discuss the plans.
While the DRB will review the permit applications, resort officials presented the plans to the planning commission as a courtesy. Each of the four Sugar Cube lots have deeded rights to four bedrooms of wastewater capacity. The subdivision lots also share water.
The three dwellings would be connected by a driveway with access from the Golf Course Road and Sugarbush Access Road. There will be eight shared parking spots. Roberta Principe, who was at this week’s meeting, expressed concern about the location of the new driveway, particularly plowing which, given the small lot sizes, she said could result in snow being thrown against her windows.
Warren resident and planning commission member Mike Bridgewater said that he was a former owner of the lots and they all had deeded rights to the wastewater system for what was then the Old Lantern Lodge and is now the Sugar Lodge.
Hammond said that that was his understanding as well and Wade said those details were being sorted out. She said the resort plans to house employees in all of the new homes and Hammond said the varying sizes of the homes would also help the resort with housing for year-round non-entry level employees as well.
‘FILL A NICHE’
“We’re hoping to fill a niche for other professional employees seeking housing in The Valley. We’re excited to be able to develop this corner and bring more workforce housing to the table,” he said.
Sugarbush is currently providing housing for 212 employees, including five professional chefs at a single-family home in Fayston. The resort is housing employees at 11 properties in total, including five that the resort owns. This year Sugarbush is housing employees at the Sugarbush Inn and some at the Sugar Lodge, but the resort wants to return those rooms to resort guests seeking lodging to backstop a shortage of beds.
Wade said that the resort anticipates a need to be able to provide housing for 250 employees annually. The Rosita’s project will be critical to meeting that goal, with a total of 192 bedrooms.
That project, with 16 studio apartments and 176 bedrooms will feature four floors, each with 44 single rooms. The congregate living floors will feature two wings, each with 22 single rooms and four shared bathrooms per floor. Each floor will have shared living, dining and kitchen facilities. Each shared bathroom will have two full bathrooms with showers, two shared sinks and two private toilet stalls, or 16 sinks, 16 toilets and eight showers for 22 single rooms.
The Rosita’s project is to be built on the former 2.99 acres Rosita’s parcel, 0.6 of the Sugartree parcel, and a portion of the 10- acre SHaRC parcel. Onsite parking will be created for 23 vehicles and residents will have access to the resort’s adjacent parking lot with 40 parking spaces.
Pedestrian walkways internal to the site are planned as well. Access to the site will be via the existing Rosita’s curb cut.
Both projects are located along the Sugarbush Access Road in the Vacation Residential and/or Sugarbush Commercial zoning districts. Both projects will be heard under Warren’s existing land use and development regulations. The town is in its third year of revising those regulations. Construction could begin as early as this summer.
‘READY TO GO’
“We believe this would be easier to permit under the proposed zoning but don't know how long that will take. We’re ready to go. We’re bringing 192 beds to the table and trying to figure out a way to make it work,” Wade said.
Alterra Mountain Company, Sugarbush’s parent company, has elevated workforce housing as a top priority across the enterprise and is currently investing $55M at Winter Park Resort in Colorado on a 332-bed workforce housing project. Alterra is assessing employee housing needs across all resorts within the portfolio. Sugarbush will be the second resort in the queue to receive significant investment towards workforce housing.
The DRB hearing takes place January 30, 2023.