CONTACT: Robert F. McDougall, Assistant Attorney General, (802) 828-5586, Greg Boulbol, Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, (802) 828-5444, John Dunleavy, Assistant Attorney General, (802) 828-2831
The Vermont Natural Resources Board (NRB), the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) and the Vermont Attorney General’s Office announced today that they have reached a settlement with the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers (VAST) that resolves VAST’s Act 250 challenge concerning the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail (LVRT). VAST maintains the Trail through a lease with VTrans. The settlement will allow the expeditious development of the LVRT into a multi-season recreation path and incorporate key elements of the Act 250 permit to ensure that the trail does not adversely affect nearby residents.
The Trail runs from St. Albans to St. Johnsbury, 93 miles across northern Vermont. Thirty-three miles of the Trail are currently open for year-round recreational use. Recently, VAST filed a petition at the federal Surface Transportation Board arguing that the Trail project is preempted by federal law from Act 250 review. In 2012, Vermont Natural Resources Board previously determined that the Trail triggered Act 250 jurisdiction and issued an Act 250 permit.
The Settlement between the State and VAST calls for an amendment of the Trail lease between VAST and VTrans to incorporate substantive conditions from the Act 250 Permit, including: conditions relating to hours of operation, limitations on use of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), noise, mitigation and trail reroutes. The conditions of the lease protect the surrounding communities and allow the trail to be developed into a recreational path that all Vermonters and visitors can enjoy. The State agrees to not enforce the Act 250 permit absent a material breach of the VTrans lease, and VAST will drop its challenge before the Surface Transportation Board.
The parties have agreed to allow the State to post the Settlement on the NRB’s website for a 30-day comment period. At the end of the comment period the State has the right to withdraw from the Settlement, propose changes, or proceed with the Settlement as proposed. If you are interested in providing a comment go to http://nrb.vermont.gov/notice-lamoille-valley-rail-trail
Last modified: March 12, 2018