Scott Milne, the Republican Party-endorsed candidate running for governor (the un-endorsed one being Emily Peyton), is a businessman who is most often linked in the media with the family travel business Milne Travel. We’ve all heard the family business name here in Vermont. However he also is partners in B&M Realty and Development. The “M” is of course for Milne, and the “B” is for David Boies III, Milne’s business partner and former college roommate. [Five members of the Boies family each donated $2,000 to Scott Milne for Governor. Dad David Boies II is a renowned trial lawyer who argued on the Gore side of the Bush v. Gore case, won a pro-marriage equality case against Prop 8 in California, and is now, with Republican lawyer Ted Olson, fighting the Virginia ban on same sex marriage.]
At least in the Town of Hartford I would guess B&M has had more interaction with the state and local government than the Milne family travel agency has. In the Upper Valley B&M Realty and Development has been struggling to get approval for a project called Quechee Highlands. A major blow occurred last year to Milne’s plan for the Quechee Highlands development:
…when the District 3 Environmental Commission denied it an Act 250 permit for its first phase, citing concerns about traffic along Route 4 and the fact that it didn’t comply with the Two Rivers regional plan.
The proposed 168-acre mixed-use development next to I-89 on the outskirts of downtown White River Junction (WRJct. and Quechee are parts of the Town of Hartford) has had a problem with Hartford. Hartford has worked and planned hard to preserve and take advantage of the unique old railroad-centered downtown. White River Junction, in recent years has experienced a modest revival.
At a meeting in March the Hartford planning commission approved a measure that will make it more difficult to include retail space at the proposed Quechee Highlands area. The Valley News reported that Milne warned the board that if they passed those changes, it would make Quechee Highlands project “dead.”
After the planning board approved the measure, an angry-sounding Scott Milne really let it rip:
“Their zoning is going to kill that village, which is designed to have retail as a minor but important aspect of it,” said Milne, who said B&M Realty has already invested about $4 million in the project, including land acquisition, engineering and design, as well as other fees.
“I’m going to try to figure out if I’m going to do anything, and if I do, it’s probably going to involve more lawyers, and it’s just going to continue to brand Vermont as a bad place to do business,” said Milne, a moderate Republican who has also recently considered a run for governor. [added emphasis]
Whew Scott, really? Get me “more lawyers” and “brand Vermont as a bad place to do business”. You mean bad for the un-built businesses, the ones along the highway?
For now Scott Milne looks like a last-resort Vermont Republican candidate for governor. It appears that no big VT Republican money was donated to kick-start this campaign. His campaign is (so far) half funded by the out-of-state family of his real estate development partner. And that family is renowned for a couple high profile liberal/Democratic legal cases. A couple months ago Milne was just the “M” in B&M Realty, an angry, frustrated developer, not a politician. Maybe he’ll become one on the campaign trail. We’ll wait and see what develops for Scott Milne.