City Manager's Weekly Report
The Act 250 District Commission issued a recess memo that outlines all remaining questions and information. We have 30 days to respond. Other parties will have 15 days after our response to offer any comments. The Commission will determine then whether another hearing is needed. Once all evidence is closed, the Commission has 15 days to issue a decision. Attorney James Dumont filed a motion for reconsideration of the party status decisions made by the Commission on January 16th.
The DRB Appellant group filed their statement of issues this week. The City was surprised at the scope and nature of the appeal, which raises at least twenty separate issues related to the local approval process. The issues raised on appeal go far beyond the relatively limited and focused items listed in the petition which had been circulating (many of which the City had already addressed or plans to address).
In our estimation, the appeal seems structured to provide for an expensive and extended legal process and, ultimately, to kill the hotel and parking garage projects. Any significant delay places both the hotel and garage projects at great risk due to changing costs. This aggressive litigation approach is not consistent with public statements from appellants indicating that they simply sought certain improvements to the garage, support the hotel project, and recognize its importance to a thriving downtown.
We have extended multiple invitations to meet, informally or through formal mediation, with the appellant group members and hope to better understand their goals and interests very soon.