Sugarbush has donated a 1.5-acre building lot on German Flats Road to the Mad River Valley Housing Coalition that will be the initial offering of the Housing Coalition’s new Affordable Land Initiative.

“The biggest obstacle for a working family to be able to build a modest, affordable home is the cost of land in The Valley. The Affordable Land Initiative plans to offer property at little or no cost to people who live or work in The Valley and who want to build their first home. The program will also be available to people who may have lost their home due to Irene flooding,” said coalition president John Donaldson.

“We are delighted to be able to make the first donation of land to get this very worthwhile project jumpstarted,” said Win Smith, president and owner of Summit Ventures NE LLC. “Everyone in The Valley benefits when families who live or work here can become first-time homeowners.”

Donaldson explained, “We are excited to get this Affordable Land Initiative going. We greatly appreciate this donation from Sugarbush. They already do so much for the community and this is another good example of the leadership role they play in The Valley.”

The Housing Coalition will sell the properties it receives at a price sufficient to recoup any costs it has incurred. For the German Flats Road parcel—which had subdivision, permit and septic design expenses—this will be around $5,000 for a property that is worth $60,000 or more. The property is a flat, wooded lot in a prime location in Fayston and has an approved, permitted septic design for a three-bedroom house.

“This program is not trying to duplicate what the organization Habitat for Humanity does. Habitat helps people build their house, while people who obtain property through the Affordable Land Initiative will be responsible for having the house built,” Donaldson explained.

In addition to the land, the Housing Coalition will be able to offer other benefits. It has obtained over 15 different sets of house plans for modest-size energy-efficient homes that can be used at no cost for purposes of this program. The plans were contributed by John Connell, Joan Heaton, Bill Maclay and Habitat for Humanity. The plans are available for review at the Mad River Valley Planning District office in the General Wait House. Several lawyers in The Valley have also offered to provide their services pro bono. Dave Olenick has already donated many hours in helping the Housing Coalition get the Affordable Land Initiative established.

The Housing Coalition is accepting applications from qualified people who already live or work in The Valley and who want to obtain this property to build their first home. Additional information and applications are available at or by contacting John Donaldson at 583-4504 (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or Joshua Schwartz at 496-7173 (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

The Mad River Valley Housing Coalition, a 501(c)3 tax-exempt nonprofit corporation, accepts donations of land that will in turn be sold to qualifying individuals or families selected through an application process. Significant federal and state tax benefits are available to anyone who donates land to this program. Information on the benefits of donating property for the Affordable Land Initiative is also available on the website or by calling.