Public Utility Commission Denies Application to Construct Solar Facility in Mount Philo Viewshed

On July 21, 2017, the Vermont Public Utility Commission denied an application by Peck Electric, Inc. to construct a 144 kW net-metered solar project in Charlotte, Vermont, in the middle of the western viewshed of Mount Philo facing Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains. The one-acre solar project was proposed for a vacant field bordering a section of the scenic Lake Champlain Byway, approximately eight-tenths of a mile from Mount Philo State Park.

Attorney Eric Derry represented the Town of Charlotte in its opposition to the project, working together with the Agency of Natural Resources and the Department of Public Service. The project opponents successfully argued that, given the dramatic rise in elevation of Mount Philo, and the project’s close proximity to the base, it would be virtually impossible to adequately screen the project in the location proposed by the applicant. Furthermore, the opponents established that the project would be a dominant element in the surrounding landscape, particularly as seen from the western summit of Mount Philo, due to the lack of any similar development in the vicinity of the project site.

In denying the application, the Commission agreed with the project opponents, finding that the western viewshed from the summit is a primary attraction of the Park and that sightseeing that view “is precisely the kind of activity the enjoyment of which would be significantly degraded by the presence of the project.” A copy of the final decision in Case Number NM-6691 is available through the Public Utility Commission’s electronic case management system.

For additional information regarding the Public Utility Commission process, including issues with the siting of alternative energy or telecommunications infrastructure, please contact our office.

SP&F Clients Benefit from Tax Exempt Financing

On Wednesday, August 2, the Vermont Municipal Bond Bank issued $29.9 million tax exempt “new money” bonds. The bond proceeds were used to purchase municipal bonds issued by Vermont communities, including a $625,000 bond for the Town of Charlotte to … [Continue reading]

Supreme Court Clarifies Exemption for Non-Profit Property

In 2008, the Vermont College of Fine Arts, a Vermont nonprofit, purchased the real estate and other assets of Union Institute and University located in Montpelier. The College planned to use only a portion of the campus for its own operations, and to … [Continue reading]

U.S. Department of Education provides clarification on the rights of students with disabilities and the responsibilities of educational institutions

On December 28, 2016 the U.S. Department of Education released three new sets of guidance to assist the public in understanding how the Department interprets and enforces federal civil rights laws protecting the rights of students with disabilities. … [Continue reading]

U.S. DOJ Issues Dear Colleague Letter on Transgender Students

On May 13, 2016 the United States Department of Justice and United States Department of Education- Office of Civil Rights issues a Dear Colleague Letter ('DCL') to school officials nationwide on the topic of transgender students and compliance with … [Continue reading]

Child Abuse Reporting Under Act 60.

The Department for Children and Families now has a mandatory reporters webpage, describing reporting requirements and procedures as of July 1, 2015, when the new abuse reporting law (Act 60) became effective. The webpage answers frequently asked … [Continue reading]

Service Animals and the ADA

On July 13, 2015 the Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a nine page technical assistance FAQ - Service Animals and the ADA to help assist covered entities like schools and municipalities in understanding how the service animal provisions of the … [Continue reading]

John Klesch presents “Employee Leave” at VLCT

Stitzel Page & Fletcher attorney John Klesch presented "Employee Leave" at the Vermont League of Cities and Towns' June 3, 2015 "Municipal Human Resources & Employment Law Workshop."  The Montpelier event drew over 100 attendees from … [Continue reading]

U.S. Supreme Rules Against Municipality in Cell Tower Dispute

The Supreme Court recently ruled against a Georgia municipality for failing to provide a timely written decision explaining its reasoning in denying a cell phone tower siting application by T-Mobile, South, LLC (“T-Mobile”). The City of Roswell’s … [Continue reading]

SP&F Assists Vermont State Colleges in CCV-Winooski Campus Acquisition

On March 26, 2015, Stitzel, Page & Fletcher attorneys Robert E. Fletcher and David W. Rugh, working on behalf of Vermont State Colleges, assisted in closing the Colleges’ roughly $2.5 million purchase of its Community College of Vermont – Winooski … [Continue reading]