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      Mad River Valley VT

      Vermont Real Estate, An Adventure Raising Pigs and the Joy of Living Far From Cities and Covid-19 Corona Virus Concentration

      Living in the country is something I have always cherished and, from a very young age, believed so much better than congested urban sprawl. Both my parents chose large cities from Caracas, Venezuela to Manhattan in New York. The money, culture, restaurants, the enticements everywhere, copious and seductive.

      The crowds though, the crowds. Stifling. When I lived in Tokyo the train operators pushed the sandwiched subway riders into the cars with white gloves, over-capacity. The smog and pollution were so intense I could barely breathe, suffering from asthma attacks and serial medication just to get by, tortuous. Eventually I got smart and fled for the hills.

      In Japan it was Hokkaido, the northern frontier of flowers and beets, fly fishing and skiing, hot springs and lavender instead of museums and traffic jams. Things got better immediately. The dramatic alpine vistas and clean air made you feel as if you were reborn.

      A pandemic magnifies all that and changes everything. As if toxic urban existence were not enough to wake up even the most avid urbanite, enter Novel Corona, or Covid-19.

      All our lives have been transformed in ways unimaginable just a few months ago. City dwellers across the land are re-evaluating their decisions to live in highly congested urban and sub-urban neighborhoods where Covid-19 has spread like wildfire with over-taxed hospitals and over-burdened morgues in its wake. None of us have been able to look at any news source for over a month without the dreaded virus dominating .

      As in most tragedy, the magic is in the silver lining. Here in the Mad River Valley or anywhere in Vermont, while partially or fully restrained from usual performance, what better opportunity than to dive deeply into and embrace country living?

      A long-held dream of raising hogs became realizable; what could be better than your own home raised pork which must be, at least the Chinese would concur, the finest meat on the planet? From bacon to braised ribs to juicy pork chops, even better than chickens, as wondrous as eggs and the 5:30 a.m. crowing rooster are. 

      On top of a new culinary adventure, how about the challenge of constructing, start to finish, a tiny home?

      While hopefully at least a few practiced hands or carpenters are reading this, most of you have varying skillset levels for DIY projects. No stranger to the hammer or chainsaw, this seemed an exciting challenge. With just a few minutes of online pig pen research, the solution availed itself.

       

       

       

      Pallets. Wooden pallets like those cast away behind the big box stores and lumber yards. The same day I found a used pallet supplier less than an hour away and had, in no time flat, 15 wooden pallets stacked in the yard.

      Sometimes the simplest things are all you need. And anyone can do it.

      A few eight-foot pressure treated posts laid down on field stone later the foundation was born, stacking and screwing in each of four pallets to form the sub-floor to be covered with thick cut boards for support. Two pallets for each of the side and rear walls stacked on end, another for a half front face, the remaining pallets cut diagonally for the upper walls and one whole for a front deck in front of a gate door. A couple of cross beams and ceiling rafters for roof support, blue foam insulation to prevent the pigs' heat from condensing and raining down on them and their hay crib and finally two eight foot corrugated sheets as roofing attached with rubber washer sheet metal screws.

      Tiny house, major pleasure.

       

       

       

      Once the walls go up the one-inch thick boards go down on the floor, a combination of spruce and reclaimed planks, followed by diagonal braces in three interior corners for structural reinforcement. 

      The most enjoyable part of the pen construction was, and as my friend and very talented artist Cathy Stevens-Pratt would say, bringing art into everyday life.

      To frost the cake, Core 10 metal sheathing constitutes the exterior baseboard, amazing as it rusts and with age forms an evolving patina, one of the few construction materials that improves rather than degenerates over time.

      While cutting the Core 10 for the first time with a Dremel and tiny metal circular saws, it came to me.

      I used a few of the metal sheets overlapped and cut out a hog stencil to adorn the new digs and announce to the passerby what this new crib would house.  The same Dremel tool used to divide the sheathing is perfect for cutting out the stencil which I mounted on wooden boards about 3/4" thick. Both stencil and stencil cut out were mounted and used on both the side and the pig pen front door. Would hogs ever have it so good?

      As with most construction, you won't be surprised if it takes longer than you expect but most great undertakings do and working with your hands, in contrast to typing endlessly in front of computer screen, is active and a wonderful  form of meditation. The only other critical tools are the Makita Magnesium 7 1/4 inch circular saw which cuts and rips like butter and a Makita power drill for all the screws, which lend strength compared to nails.

      The white band you see on the door and around the structure is a single layer of PVC clapboard, made of the same material as pvc pipe which is water resistant and a great material to use for window and door trim compared to wood which rots much more quickly.

      The gate door, the inner diagonal braces, stone to fill the foundation walls, not to mention the stenciling, electric fencing and water-on-demand hydration, one thing leads to the other. While not completed yet, the project was begun a couple of weeks ago and is nearly wrapped with two Duroc-Yorkshire piglets arriving in May at $100 a head.

      While you haven't likely dreamed of forking out a pig pen (remember when Judy Garland as Dorothy takes a tumble into the pig pen in the Wizard of Oz) or the likely enticing smells they'll generate, there is so much to love about living in the country.

      Vermont has it all. What better time to escape the concrete jungle permanently or purchase a home or camp in Vermont as a sure escape in case another pandemic, or worse, strikes? My inbox and phone have been inundated with potential buyers who have realized just that and now truly understand what a safe haven Vermont can be, on top of the gorgeous mountains and streams.

      Raising pigs and chickens are this Vermont real estate broker's Covid-19 silver lining. 

      What is your silver lining? Can a pandemic translate into something exciting and new, bring you to a safer place and open up a whole new world?

      Vermont has been under lockdown, in various forms, since March 25th with social distancing the mantra, children home from schools and university, remote learning, virtual meetings via zoom, and many strapped and unable to work at all or come even close to being as productive as usual. Vermont realtors were, for almost four weeks, unable to show any homes.

      Finally, Monday of last week, the 20th of April, guidelines loosened slightly allowing showings only to people living in Vermont or out-of-staters that have quarantined in Vermont for 14 days which, for all intents and purposes, rules out showings to any out of state buyers except those with homes here that can leave their home state for more than two weeks just to see some houses up here which is, to say the least, asking a lot of them and far from any reasonable measure. There is talk of the levee breaking June 15th from which Vermont Inns, short term rentals and B&B ops have been tentatively approved by Governor Scott, still over six weeks away. Herculean efforts are underway to bring the state government to more reasonable conclusions to allow showings sooner to out-of-state buyers with Covid-19 precautions in place.

      It's a fantastic time to start exploring Vermont's real estate market in earnest and scheduling showings for June 15th if you're out of state without means to quarantine in Vermont yet or right away if here already or have come from out-of-state and have quarantined for 14 days already. Demand is building and many in the northeast and far beyond are eyeing this gorgeous place and preparing to buy up property here to help ensure they have access to this incredible escape. Already, many second homeowners have ditched their cities and are working remotely here full time. All over the world rural migration is reversing decades of urban migration. In today's New York Times, this story spotlights Peru where highways are full of pedestrians, suitcases and children in an exodus from Lima. What a fabulous change. Exodus, the painting below depicted by artist Robert Spencer in oil, captures the spirit of freedom and promise rural life offers.

      Now is the time to move to the country or at least purchase a place to have in addition to your city dwelling. This it. To get information on any Vermont property or real estate, call 800-525-7965 or email info@maplesweet.com and we can accelerate the process towards making your dream come true. You can also text me at 802-793-1515. Thank you so much for the opportunity to serve you, always such a pleasure.

      Maple Sweet Real Estate delves deeply into myriad issues for Vermont property owners, sellers, and purchasers.

      Connect to maplesweet.com, e-mail info@maplesweet.com or call toll-free 1-800-525-7965 for info on selling or purchasing Vermont commercial properties, homes, condos or land or to get more information on Vermont real estate. 

      See all Maple Sweet Real Estate listings and the newest Vermont listings.

      Referrals & recommendations are welcome & appreciated.

      Vermont Mandatory Consumer Disclosure: please note Vermont real estate agencies represent Sellers directly or indirectly. Buyer representation can be gained for properties not already listed by Maple Sweet Real Estate. To better understand the merits of or arrange for buyer representation, please email or call for further details.

      Information Disclosure: information provided and relayed by Maple Sweet Real Estate is not represented to be accurate or free of errors. While substantial efforts are made to obtain and convey information from sources deemed dependable, Maple Sweet Real Estate does not guarantee or warranty such information is accurate or reliable. All information should be independently verified. 

      IMPORTANT NOTICE: Never trust wiring instructions sent via email. Cyber criminals are hacking email accounts and sending emails with fake wiring instructions. These emails are convincing and sophisticated. Always independently confirm wiring instructions in person or via a telephone call to a trusted and verified phone number. Never wire money without double-checking that the wiring instructions are correct.

       

      Going Through The Roof

      Things Are Looking Up

      "The sky's the limit if  you have a roof over your head." Sol Hurok.

      Architecture dazzles. Architect Frank Gehry knows, his metallic and light geometry in Cambridge, MA here pictured, draws you in and up instantly. It captures our hearts and minds. Design seduces buyers into bidding wars, captures in form the spirit of man and shelter.

      Vermont architecture varies dramatically, from urbanscape to quiet country lane. Roofs, the apogee of our homes, define the interpretation of form and visual appeal, not to mention purpose. Often overlooked as incidental, the roof is the backbone of a home, critical in preserving and protecting. Whether a simple gable sans skylight, a dormered cape, an ornate victorian or flat top rubber membrane, roofs are, second only to foundations, an essential architectural element in function and style.

      What kind of roofs have caught your eye and fancy? Do you prefer simplicity or complex lines and interaction? How important is light and elevation to you?

      Like us, roofs need to breathe. Adequately providing for soffit and peak ventilation can radically affect longevity of both the roofing and substrate. There's nothing as frustrating when you've found a great buyer, are under contract to close and the property inspector opens up the attic to find thick layers of mold covering the attic ceiling due to inadequate venilation and trapped moisture. Mold mediation companies can charge tens of thousands.

      This Maple Sweet Real Estate Mad River Valley listing at 146 Sugarhouse Lane features a half-hipped roof, sloped in four directions with post and beam accents. The hipped roof allows for more room upstairs; less knee wall space means high square footage and better maximization of vertical opportunities.

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

      It's the materials that count. From adobe out west, grass tops in England, synthetic slate shingles made from baby diapers, roofing elements define the shelter from the storm, our year round umbrellas. Cedar shakes are durable and gorgeous and can last for many decades depending on thickness, length, rating, installation skill and maintenance. Other shingles include ubiquitous ashphalt in standard and architectural form and composite shingles. While rare in Vermont, terra cotta spanish and other ceramic tiles hold immense appeal. With heavy snowfall's vertical line, sheet metal satisfies in corrugated and standing seam. Think green...Solar shingles anyone?

      The real deal, slate shingles can last 100+ years; so durable, they make the others look like rice paper. Just be sure to build a frame and truss system strong enough to support their weight or the whole show will come tumbling down. From dirt cheap to blindingly dear as the labor is dangerous, something I can attest to. I was up refinishing a roof of mine when the ladder gave out. Shotgun descent, broken humurous (thankfully no broken back or neck), titanium plate, surgery and seven screws. This is one job you don't want to DIY.

      Poetry of roofing. Open vs closed valleys, pitch and concealed fasteners. Flashing, skylights and gutters, snow guards, peaks and valleys. Arched, domed and skillion, sheathing, sod and solar. Thermal emittance, ice dams and R factor.

       

      "Tin Roof" by Scottish Poet Nii Ayikwei Parkes

      "Wild harmattan winds whip you but still you stay; they spit dust all over your gleam and twist your sharp cutting edges.

      The rains come zinging mud with their own tapping music. Yet you remain -my pride- my very own roof."

       

       

      Maple Sweet Real Estate adds value and insight to better inform your real estate decisions. Thank you so much for reading the Maple Sweet blog.

      To learn more about roofs, find a roofing contractor, buy land to build, buy or list your own home, call 800-525-7965 or email info@maplesweet.com

       

       

      Text 802-793-1515 or call toll free 800-525-7965 

      Set up Showings 

      List Your Property

      www.maplesweet.com

       
       Vermont Required Consumer Information Disclosure: please note Vermont real estate agencies represent Sellers directly or indirectly. Buyer representation can be gained for properties not already listed by Maple Sweet Real Estate. To better understand the merits of or arrange for buyer representation, please email or call for further details.

       

      South Village Condos at Sugarbush, Stand Alone Privacy & Comfort, Ski On Ski Off at Trails' Edge

      Maple Sweet Real Estate  www.maplesweet.com   toll free 800-525-7965  info@maplesweet.com m/txt 802-793-1515

      South Village, on Lincoln Peak's eastern flank @ Sugarbush ski area, is an enclave of comfort and convenience. Year in year out discerning Vermont second home owners vie for a chance to own one of these handsome, stand alone ski escapes. Here are two South Village condos available now with superior locations and exceptional improvements.

          

           South Village 57 includes a custom made Beefer Roth bed frame with matching raw edge atrium window framing and a pristine hardwood maple great room floor extending into the kitchen. If you love wood and looking for a handsomely fnished low maintenance second home with Vermont vernacular touches, this is it. Located at woods edge, it's a stone's throw from the access trail that connects the big slopes and on the high side of the road with parking just below. Feast on incredible Mad River Valley views form the wrap around deck and enjoy the privacy of being up on the end of road cul de sac. Watch your kids ski home through the trees from the cathedral living room and warm your weekends with the central brick hearth and stack wood burning fireplace.

           Bright ceramic tile kitchen, skylights and beautiful, clear towering windows bathe in abundant light. Listed at a modest $248,500, a similar, less handsomely renovated South Village on the same cul de sac sold for $282,000. Quality and value for the taking. More info, pix here.

           For more room, South Village 33 offers an expanded floor plan with an added and finshed basement. The new pine siding smells so good it feels like a tree house. Overflow guests savor the large siamese bed loft, and a roughed in fourth bathroom is ready to customize and finish. Consistent with the new pine family room siding, the kitchen and living room have a durable yellow pine wood floor distinguishing 33 from most South Village units which have carpeting. Modern lighting, this spacious stand alone condo is also on an west end cul de sac close to the ski on ski off access trail so you don't have to get in your car once you get to Vermont. See the association map below showing each condo marked with condo numbers. 

           Tall fir trees, wrap around deck and an exceptional west end association location translate to less traffic, more privacy and a much shorter ski onto the main trails. New tile mudroom floor, beautiful views from the kitchen, a large deck and, like 57, an energy efficient propane fired Rinnai heater supplement the crackling central wood fireplace listed at $279,000. More info, pix here

           No other condo association at Sugarbush offers stand alone, self-contained units with ski on ski off convenience. Snow Creek, while closer the main trails is an apartment like complex with units stacked three high. Clay Brook & Rice Brook, while at the base of Lincoln Peak, feel more like a hotel than at home.

           At South Village, you're unattached to others which means the world. When you get up here to relax you won't need to go far for your firewood either: the maintenance team will have it stacked by your front door and walkway shoveled. Once you drive north, you can really spread your  wings. After you leave weekly condo checks and a very capable property management team help ensure your home away from home is being well looked after. 

      Sell your own condo, home or property anywhere in the state of Vermont. Set up an appointment in person, over the phone or via skype here.
      Set up a showing of South Village 33, South Village 57, or any other Vermont condo, home or property: toll free 800-525-7965 text 802-793-1515 
        

       

       Vermont Required Consumer Information Disclosure: please note Vermont real estate agencies represent Sellers directly or indirectly. Buyer representation can be gained for properties not already listed by Maple Sweet Real Estate. To better understand the merits of or arrange for buyer representation, please email or call for further details.

       

      Bridge Street Butchery; Jeff Lynn Taking Vermont to New Culinary Highs

      Oysters Divine

           Hot off the slopes, apres-ski takes on a new meaning with Mad River Valley gem The Bridge Street Butchery in historic Waitsfield. Fresh Oysters, hot bouillabaisse or cold sushi, sword fish, organic beef, Vermont smoke & cure bacon, Cabot Clothbound Cheddar,  fennel sausage jambalaya, partridge, duck or venison are here to grace your table.

      Seafood Collage

           While Vermont has a long tradition of culinary exploration and finesse, finding a good corner delicatessen style butchery is something else, especially in rural paradise. It's a long way to Grace's Marketplace or Eli Zabar's in NYC, and still a trek to get to the wonderful City Market Coop in Burlington and Hunger Mountain Coop in Montpelier, and for those of us aspiring gourmets and bon vivants stuck in back-country Vermont with the black-bears and telemarkers, the Bridge Street Butchery is bliss.

      OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA It's more than just an exquisite nibble. Jeff Lynn owned the Sweetwood Bar & Grill in Warren and brings depth and experience and has put together a team that excels in providing customized, warm and attentive service, another  elusive pleasure in rural Vermont.

      I met Jeff today just before noon cooking up a Count Neck Clam Chowder with clams from Scituate on the Cape, Von Trapp Whey Fed Sausage weaned on Sean Lawson's Finest Liquids grain, & organic garlic for staff mid-day re-fueling.

      OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Conquering Sugarbush and Mad River Glen lead to real hunger.  Check out Justin's meat balls, Gaylord's heirloom tomatos,  Maplebrook Farm fresh or smoked mozzarella, Thai sweet potato,  coconut and lemon grass soup, Green Rabbit baguettes, prime rib eye,  a Neill Farm brisket  sandwich, Irish bangars, smoked Faroe Island Salmon, Niman Ranch flank steak, Ancho chili rubbed baby  back ribs or Portugese sardines for your grill.

      Everything is fresh, nothing frozen, the store reborn with new selections each week. Work in progress.

      Call (802) 496-3474 or email Jeff at bridgestreetbutchery@yahoo.com today to secure your order of made on site brined corned beef in time for Saint Patrick's Day.

      Bridge Street Butchery Deli Collage s

      The Bridge Street Butchery was born from catastrophe.  August 28th, 2011 Hurricane Irene struck Waitsfield. The Mad River breached, flooding historic village sweeping one building completely off it's foundation, wiping out the four main floor businesses at 40 Bridge Street in the Blue Building  including  the former popular Green Cup Cafe. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFrom that void sprung The Peasant, Chris Alberti's italian wonder restaurant, The Sweet Spot (Sweet Simone's & Scout's Honor) run by Lisa Curtis & John Vitko, and Jeff Lynn's Bridge Street Butchery. With the Artisans Gallery across the driveway, vegetarian restaurant extraordinaire Mint west, the covered bridge east, Troy Kingsbury's charming Village Grocery on Main, the Joslin Memorial Library, David Sellers' Madsonian Museum of Industrial Design, Sherry DeFlavio's wonderful boutique 4orty Bridge and Maple Sweet Real Estate at the corner, this is a mecca for foodies and art lovers, tucked away from the crowds of more commercial Irasville. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA To wash it all down, check out Jeff's selection, all tasted before offer, of fine bubbly, Chardonnay, Cabernet, Argentinian Malbec, Merlot, & Pacific Northwest Pinot Noir. With his culinary flair and restaurant history, Jeff's oenological savoire faire adds an important layer to the chopping block.

      The Bridge Street Butchery at 40 Bridge Street in Waitsfield, Vermont. Open Tuesday-Saturday 10-6.  (802) 496-FISH  bridgestreetbutchery@yahoo.com

      Connect to maplesweet.com, e-mail info@maplesweet.com or call toll-free 1-800-525-7965 for info on the finest real estate, selling or purchasing a house, condo or land in Vermont, to get details on local Vermont real estate market conditions or culinary ideas. 

      See the Maple Sweet Real Estate listings Portfolio and the newest Vermont mls listings.

      Comments

      1. Clayton-Paul Cormier, Jr. on

        Thank you so much Suzee. Having Jeff to write about makes writing very easy...
        • derek on

          Jeff, this is genius, great stuff man! proud of ya.

          Warren Pieces, Mad River Valley Incubational Brilliance

          Giant Lumber Slabs in line to Skating Heaven

          Tucked away at the edge of the Freeman Brook and Flat Iron Road in historic Warren Village, an incredible new business is born. You'd never know what was hatching inside without an invitation or some inside information.

          Stacked outside the otherwise innocuous two bay garage converted into an open studio are thick slabs of hardwoods divine. The side room full of wood samples including a palette of mahogany shipped by Gibson for guitar neck experimentation. But music isn't the main focus here in this brilliant and buzzing space.

          Welcome to Warren Pieces.

          The woodstove crackling, fueled by the scraps of progress. Tools across the floor, sawdust, the intoxicating aroma of exotic hardwood.

          Luscious Detailing

          Matt Groom & Whitney Phillips are at work.

          Whitney walks in and though it's first thing in the morning, he's unusually clear as his wife Jesse is in contraction, the waves every twelve minutes.  Any time now....  As if their powerful industrial incubation wasn't enough.

          Stylefully Induced Camber for extra Spring in the Ride

          Witnessing the start of something so clearly loaded with promise and success would be a thrill under any circumstances, but seeing the intense focus on a product so dear to boys across the planet is, for anyone who has ridden or likes to ride, like walking into a candy shop for the first time.

          When I was in my early teens I'd jump the subway in Manhattan and go all the way down to the epicenter of 1970's skateboarding, Paragon Sports. There were hundreds of boards displayed in force with kids riding through the store, wheels and tracks of every shape and color. G&S was big in long boards. But nothing in that store came close, even in the heart of the largest US city, to the ultra-fine craftsmanship on clear display on Flat Iron Road in Warren this week. Local luxury defined.

          Nest of Champions

          Rare Highly Sought After Spalted Maple, Choicest Raw Materials Selection

          Matt shows off one of the new purchases, a radio frequency driven wood welder harnessing dielectric heating: disturbed water molecules cause friction with twenty seven million cycle changes per second translating to heat, vastly accelerating wood curing time, allowing faster production without sacrificing strength. Matt's comes to Warren Pieces from Matt Groom Building & Remodeling, already widely acclaimed for carpentry & design excellence.

          Mahogany Core, Brightens Wet

          Artful Forms, Jagged Foot Grips, Wide Trucks

          Skateboard Wall Hanging Piece with Rear Illumination

          Exquisite Surfaces, Like No Other. Spalted Maple Detailing.

          Camber Master, Hand Made Press

          Whitney Phillips & Matt Groom, Warren Pieces

          Warren Pieces is aiming for a special niche market, with long boards at $350, other price points to follow. Out of the gate, they can't make enough to keep up with the traffic through the shop. One purchase after the next, for a friend or relative here or far away, a real piece of Vermont to show the surfing dudes  you don't need an ocean to rock. It won't be long before the word will get out, the online orders will pour in, and Matt & Whitney will be celebrities on the world skateboarding circuit.

          When you take your board home, it won't just rest in the corner or under you bed. They've designed stunning wall mounts to be illuminated from behind that are works of art themselves and would make any adolescent's room jump.

          QR codes will be etched in copper on board underbellies for an instant link to Warren Pieces, the website evolving now.

          Everything about this entrepreneurial effort sparkles.

          With Whitney's years of sports branding and sales with Mad River Rocket the original extreme sled co., and Matt's discerning eye, stylistic excellence and superior craftsmanship, this is one new business you can bet on. Whether you stay at the Relais & Chateau Pitcher Inn around the corner or more modest digs, don't miss this visit.

          To order your own Warren Pieces skateboard or one as a gift for family or friend, reach Whitney @ 802.371.9020 whitney@warrenpieces.com or Matt @ 802.279.3597 matt@warrenpieces.com

          Stiletto Grace, Pintail.

          Connect to maplesweet.com, e-mail info@maplesweet.com or call toll-free 1-800-525-7965 for more info on Warren Pieces, to arrange for showings,  list your property,  or look into Vermont's real estate market. Skateboard showings an option...

          Referrals & recommendations are welcome & appreciated.
          Vermont Required Consumer Information Disclosure: please note Vermont  real estate agencies represent Sellers directly or indirectly. Buyer representation can be gained for properties not already listed by Maple Sweet Real Estate. To better understand the merits of or arrange for buyer representation, please email or call for further details.

          Information Disclosure: information provided and relayed by Maple Sweet Real Estate is not represented to be accurate or free of errors. While substantial efforts are made to obtain and convey information from sources deemed dependable, Maple Sweet Real Estate does not guarantee or warranty such information is accurate or reliable. All information should be independently verified.

          If your property is already listed for sale with another real estate agency, this is not intended as a solicitation of that agency's listing.

          De-Mystifying Vermont's Current Use Program. Forest Management, Tax Reduction, Harvesting

          Vermont's forests

          are lush with treasure. Exquisite tiger maple, hemlock for tenacious post and beam house frames, sweet maple sap which sugared down, covers pancackes across the land and gives our green mountain state a claim to fame.

          Misty Trail

          Defining Current Use

          What then is Vermont's Current Use Program? It's often referred to as "the most important, most successful conservation program in Vermont."

          If you own 27 or more acres, you're already likely familiar with this increasingly popular land tax reduction and deferral opportunity, but to the layman less familiar with tree related tax breaks, the name Current Use itself is cryptic enough without tackling taxation intricacies.

          Current Use landowners practice long term forest management to achieve taxation based on forest valuation vs fair market valuation. This very substantial savings which can be as much as 70 to 80 per cent of what the taxes would be otherwise, comes at a cost. The state attaches a permanent lien to the deed until such time as the landowner withdraws, the legislature ends the program, or the parcel is discontinued by the Division of Property Valuation & Review.

          Woodpeckers of North America

          The Tax Benefits

          can be huge. By placing your forest or agricultural property in Current Use you can dramatically decrease your yearly tax burden. For forested land graced with valuable timber, periodically required forest management (ready the chain saw) can yield the added bonus of incoming checks for the land owner from the logger harvesting precious hardwoods.

          Starksboro Chain Saw Workshop, Addison County

          For forest land to qualify, you need at least 27 acres for 25 to enroll with a two acre exclusion for your house site. When purchasing land already enrolled, with the plan to continue enrollment, you can't move the excluded area but, assuming you have well over 25 acres, you can withdraw another section to build your home, though you'll incur a land use change tax. This withdrawal penalty is also levied if you decide to withdraw the entire property from current use. One of the most common questions and concerns: so how much will it cost me to withdraw from the program?

          Use Change Tax Calculation

          Elizabeth Hunt, one of the three Current Use personnel listed on Vermont's current use website is immensely helpful. According to Elizabeth, Use change tax determination is based on the assessed value of the land enrolled divided by the town's CLA, or Common Level of Appraisal or Adjustment, the tax department's attempt to adjust assessed values to fair market value. To get the state's assessment of your enrolled current use acreage, call Elizabeth or the state's current use department. Once you've divided the enrolled acreage current use assessment by the CLA, and multiplied that figure by the percentage of the number of acres being withdrawn, you've got your alleged fair market value of acreage being withdrawn. Your use change penalty depends on how long the land's been in current use. If ten or more years, the penalty is ten per cent of the fair market value of the land being withdrawn; if less than ten years, then 20 per cent.

          Pine, Areas to Prune

          H.237, a bill intended to strengthen the current use tax base, proposed a change in the percentages the use change tax is determined by. Property held less than 12 years would incur 10%, property held 12 to 20 years 8%, and property held over 20 years just five per cent. It passed the House in 2011 but not the Senate. An effort was made to incorporate it into miscellaneous tab bill H.782 this year but it stalled in the Senate Finance Committee. Proponents of the bill include the Vermont Natural Resources Council.

          Vermont Hemlock, Strong Post & Beam Frames. Billings Museum, Woodstock, VT.

          For more details on penalty calculation  see pages 16-18 of Vermont UVA (Use Value Appraisal) manual. Family members can step into the shoes of a current use owner but new owners inheriting an unrelated property owner's current use land have to start the clock ticking all over.

          State of Vermont Acres Enrolled in Current Use Graph

          For more details on the entire program, see the same manual and the Vermont Division of Forestry site.

          The Vermont graph below shows the increasing popularity of Current Use, especially in Forest.

          Foresters, Loggers & Harvesting

          Engaging a forester to prepare your forest management plan may run up to a couple of thousand, varying, including application fees.

          Be sure to get a contract with your logger once you get that far. There are stories of property owners wondering what happened to their checks once the loggers were long gone.

          Have Culvert, Will Travel

          Vermont County Foresters are excellent resources for current use information and can recommend non-county foresters to prepare forest management plans and help you oversee your forest  during program inclusion, as well as recommend dependable and honest loggers to work with.

          Click here for a Current Use Application, and here for a Change of Ownership Form.

          Before cutting any of your enrolled forest, you or your forester must submit your forest management plan, or all the land must exit the program, a change tax levied, and eligibility denied for the ensuing five years during which taxes would go back to normal.

          Gustav Klimt, Tree of Life

          If your management plan calls for cutting but the timber values are depressed, you can delay cutting up to a couple of years with county forester approval.

          On harvest yield, you might expect 1,000 to 1,500 board feet per acre. Harvesting may occur every ten years or more. Wind throw from storm damage can necessitate cutting earlier.

          Connect to maplesweet.com, e-mail info@maplesweet.com or call toll-free 1-800-525-7965 to arrange for showings,  list your property,  or look further into Vermont's real estate market.

          Referrals & recommendations are welcome & appreciated.
          Vermont Required Consumer Information Disclosure: please note Vermont  real estate agencies represent Sellers directly or indirectly. Buyer representation can be gained for properties not already listed by Maple Sweet Real Estate. To better understand the merits of or arrange for buyer representation, please email or call for further details.

          Information Disclosure: information provided and relayed by Maple Sweet Real Estate is not represented to be accurate or free of errors. While substantial efforts are made to obtain and convey information from sources deemed dependable, Maple Sweet Real Estate does not guarantee or warranty such information is accurate or reliable. All information should be independently verified.

          If your property is already listed for sale with another real estate agency, this is not intended as a solicitation of that agency's listing.

          Irene. A Retrospective by Waitsfield, Vermont Photographer David Garten

          After the Flood, Sediment Streets



          After the Flood, Sediment Streets

          After the Flood, Sediment Streets

          After the Flood, Sediment Streets

          After the Flood, Sediment Streets

          After the Flood, Sediment Streets

          After the Flood, Sediment Streets

          Ravaged Pavement

          After the Flood, Sediment Streets

          After the Flood, Sediment Streets

          After the Flood, Sediment Streets

          After the Flood, Sediment Streets

          After the Flood, Sediment Streets

          David Garten has photographed weddings throughout Vermont and New England, as well as New York, California, and Madrid, Spain for 23 years. From 1994 to 2004 David traveled often to Havana, Cuba where he photographed the worlds of music and dance, as well as daily life. His cuban photos have been published in the New York Times, Latin Beat Magazine, books such as "Cuban Ballet" by Octavio Roca and "My Sax Life" by Paquito D'Rivera, and on Grammy-nominated CD's by Cuban musicians such as Chucho Valdés and Irakere. David has exhibited at the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco, the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, and the Jazz Gallery in New York.

          To reach David Garten for weddings, portraits or other assignments: dgarten@madriver.com

          4412 Main Street #2, PO Box 210, Waitsfield, VT 802.496.5516

          Connect to maplesweet.com, e-mail info@maplesweet.com or call toll-free 1-800-525-7965 to list your property, arrange for showings, or look further into Vermont's real estate market or Act 250 reform.

          .....
          Thank you for visiting Maple Sweet Real Estate's blog, Light Amber.
          .....
          Vermont Required Consumer Information Disclosure: please note Vermont  real estate agencies represent Sellers directly or indirectly by default. Buyer representation can be gained for properties not already listed by Maple Sweet Real Estate. To better understand the merits of or arrange for buyer representation, please email or call for further details.
          .....
          If your property is already listed for sale with another real estate agency, this is not intended as a solicitation of that agency's listing.

          Streamlining Act 250. Vermont Environmental Law Reform.

           

          Clear Air Clear Water

           

          Watching over Vermont's land & water. Act 250 is a public, quasi-judicial process reviewing & managing the environmental, social & fiscal impacts of Vermont development. Nine district commissions review permit applications based on criteria articulated by state statutes.

          In 2005 Vermont's legislature created the Natural Resources Board (NRB) with Act 115  to replace the Environmental Water Resources Boards. The NRB includes a full-time chair (state employee), and two citizen panels, a land use panel and a water resources panel, consisting of four persons each, with the chair serving as chair of each of the two panels. Act 115  consolidated environmental appeals and land use development law revisions. View the full text of Act 115 in which substantial previous language is stricken making deletions clear and new language underlined.

           

          Clear Air Clear Water

           

          The NRB administers the Act 250 process and has rule making and enforcement authority over land-use permit violations (significant time is spent prosecuting violations) as well as the right to participate in certain Environmental Court appeals.

           

          Clear Air Clear Water

           

          Northfield Attorney Peter Young chaired the NRB from 2006 when appointed by former Governor Jim Douglas following an appointment to the District 5 Environmental Commission in 2003. Young's challenges included dealing with applicants who had already developed: building a project and belatedly coming to the NRB for permits. Innocent oversight or planning to beg forgiveness later?

           

          Clear Air Clear Water

           

          In 2007 the Board appointed John Wakefield of Redstone, a Burlington Real Estate Development company permit specialist, as it's first Permit Compliance Officer.

           

          Clear Air Clear Water

           

          Burlington Attorney Ron Shems, formerly and co-founder of Shems, Dunkiel, Raubvogel & Saunders replaced Young April 1st of this year when Shems was appointed the new Natural Resources Board Chair by newly elected Governor Shumlin.

          Act 250 Proponents, since its 1970 enactment in 1970, see it as setting a reasonable set of guidelines for developers and business owners, protecting Vermont from odious American sprawl. Citizen participation and protecting the environment are the heart and soul of Act 250. They view Act 250 reform suspiciously as attempts to circumvent environmental protection and eviscerate regulations leaving Vermont vulnerable to unbridled exploitation.

          Business Proponents consider Act 250 unpredictable, unfriendly and decidedly antagonistic economically, causing in some cases many year permitting periods and exorbitant additional legal expenses. With interested party status, "the Interveners" can become unjust obstructionists.

          "To a developer, it doesn't matter if you're spending time before the local boards or the state or Act 250. It's all permits, and if you can simplify the process, the whole state benefits." James Pizzigalli, Co-Chairman of Pizzigalli Construction

           

          Clear Air Clear Water

           

          Former Governor Jim Douglas claimed the average permit took companies 278 days to receive but the NRB cited different numbers, with two-thirds of all applicants gaining permits within 60 days.

          Streamlining objectives & options:

          • Eliminating duplicate permitting requirements at the state & local level and within the state level.
          • Minimizing special consultants including attorneys, engineers and planners so applicants may run the process on their own except in the most complicated circumstances.
          • Adding a state facilitator. Bill H-475 called for a pilot program to add a facilitator to help council businesses on the Act 250 process.
          • Clear and consistent intervener standards. Predictability for who and how interveners can participate. Limiting interveners to those having legitimate interests.

           

          Clear Air Clear Water

           

          The Wetlands Regulations took over three years to hammer out.

          Act 250 revision includes the launch of the Permitting & Compliance Portal including a wealth of easily accessible information including an environmental permit summary and the Vermont Permit Handbook.

          Get a better idea of Vermont's Land Use & Development Act's history, hear Jane Lindholm of Vermont Public Radio here in an Act 250 special program including notes on the "culture of no" and the importance of working as well as looking at the view.

          Connect to maplesweet.com, e-mail info@maplesweet.com or call toll-free 1-800-525-7965 to list your property, arrange for showings, or look further into Vermont's real estate market or Act 250 reform.

          .....
          Thank you for visiting Maple Sweet Real Estate's blog, Light Amber.
          .....
          Vermont Required Consumer Information Disclosure: please note Vermont  real estate agencies represent Sellers directly or indirectly by default. Buyer representation can be gained for properties not already listed by Maple Sweet Real Estate. To better understand the merits of or arrange for buyer representation, please email or call for further details.
          .....
          If your property is already listed for sale with another real estate agency, this is not intended as a solicitation of that agency's listing.