Smack in the middle: New Vista, candidates and a lobbyist

Intrepid blogger/reporter Nicole Antal, who writes in the Daily Upper Valley community website, has written her sixth story about David Hall and New Vista for her Very Vermont column.

Antal, who was first to break the story, has now compiled how local and statewide candidates and office holders stand on the proposed massive project. Hall is the Utah-based engineer/developer and Mormon (member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, aka LDS) who has set out to build a 20,000-resident utopian community in Sharon (the birthplace of LDS founder Joseph Smith) and several surrounding towns. Plans for his futuristic New Vista and descriptions of the proposed community make it sound, at least to me, like a benevolent real-life version of Zardoz.keepitnice2

Although they were contacted twice by Antal, gubernatorial candidates Minter, Lisman, Galbraith,[update: Peter Galbraith commented 6/16 on New Vista on in response to question ] Paige, and Ericson did not respond. Phil Scott and Matt Dunne responded by email.

Dunne expressed a strong desire to preserve the character and quality of Vermont life and says the Act 250 process should support that goal.

Phil “listen and learn” Scott wants to “learn a little more about this curious project to make sure it’s a good idea for the community and the state.” He wonders if “perhaps there’s a good idea in here somewhere.” And, he says, “Like any other developer, they [New Vista] would have to follow the rules and regulations laid out in Vermont’s laws, so we’ll have opportunities to learn more.”  Funny, I notice Scott just can’t quite bring himself to mention Act 250 here in a positive context. Perhaps there’s a good idea in Act 250 after all, Phil.

The area targeted by Hall includes Vermont House districts Windsor-Orange 1 (Royalton, Tunbridge) and Windsor-Orange 2 (Sharon, Thetford, Norwich, and Strafford);  Antal contacted and got responses from all the legislative candidates. It is well worth reading the candidates’ full comments on the Daily Upper Valley website.

All of the local respondents (three Independents, one Republican, and a Democrat) indicated degrees of caution and skepticism over the wisdom of plunking down New Vista and its 20,000 people in rural Vermont. Another notable common thread was how they all seemed thankful to have the Act 250 regulatory process in place. As far as I know New Vista is not far enough along to have become involved in the Act 250 development approval process.

District 2 Republican House candidate David Ainsworth also notes the Act 250 requirement and adds he is “a little bit apprehensive about it [the project’s scale]” but couldn’t resist adding this: “But one of my biggest concerns is the overreaction and putting in a lot of regulations that will restrict everyone else’s opportunities to do things.” Have futuristic utopian city/states, throughout history always favored fewer government regulations and low tax states? I guess he fears Vermont might lose out on the coming boom in utopian city/state developments to New Hampshire.

Nicole Antal’s ongoing effort to get candidates and elected officials on public record early on in this process couldn’t come at a better time:  it looks like David Hall will begin a more systematic wooing of Vermonters’ support.

Recognizing a lucrative opportunity, Montpelier lobbyist/PR man Kevin Ellis reportedly solicited Hall for his business and offered his services. Ellis will be making connections and smoothing the way for the high-density 20,000-resident New Vista development. “This may be a great idea,” Ellis says. New Vista, he believes “…would inject millions of dollars and lots of new people into communities.” He could also add, but doesn’t, that the “injection” of dollars and lots of new people (20,000) would permanently, radically change — basically destroy — the existing rural character and lives of a large part of central Vermont.

Luckily we have a record of what the candidates say about New Vista now, let’s see what happens when long-time Montpelier lobbyist and PR ace Kevin Ellis sweet talks them in the years to come.

For now, says Ellis, David Hall is (under his guidance) “reaching out to local officials and residents.”  And later, should the need arise for any state rules or regulations to be adjusted favorably to the planned development by the legislature, long-time Montpelier lobbyist Kevin Ellis probably wants “to be in the middle of it.”

Hmmm,right ‘smack in the middle of it,’ that sounds familiar…

Man with no-name: “Baxter’s over there, Rojo’s there, me right smack in the middle”

[Yup, somebody gets a fistful of New Vista dollars]

Man with no-name: Crazy bell-ringer was right. There’s money to be made in these parts.

14 thoughts on “Smack in the middle: New Vista, candidates and a lobbyist

  1. This may be a great idea,” Ellis says. New Vista, he believes “…would inject millions of dollars and lots of new people into communities.”
    Hall appears to want no interaction between noovistas and the surrounding communities. It would be self-contained and free-standing. And as it is a for-profit, ultra-capitalistic endeavor, it should not be referred to as a utopian community.

    Below is a snippet of a convo I had with him yesterday after he chastised Vermont for having more road miles per person than any other state (Duh!)

    ME: So David Richard Hall, I would like answers to these questions, please:
    Will noovistas residents be allowed to bring cars with them? If not, will they have mileage restrictions with noovistas cars? If a resident applies for a job 20 miles away, will they be thrown out? With 20,000 people in residence, on any given weekend, maybe 1,000+ will want to do something like go sailing on Lake Champlain, visit friends in Brattleboro, go out to dinner at that Indian restaurant in WRJ, hike Camel’s Hump or some such. On any given weekday maybe 500+ would have a need or wish to drive somewhere for some reason. It looks to me like noovistas will actually INCREASE emissions from driving in Vermont.

    DAVID RICHARD HALL: Mass transit primary means of travel. No car ownership. If they have a job outside community they will have to move as entry ticket is job or business within community so they can walk. Reduction of footprint is a key goal of community.

    Car and other tool rental businesses will be on transport easements at exits to community available by reservation. Rent a car or truck or whatever according to event or need instead of owning a car and truck and van and bus and motorcycle and ATV and tractor and trailer and RV and boat and jet ski and lawn mower and edger and bob cat and horse trailer….etc…

    90% of what a person does normally will be within the larger extended 50 community system… and its wilderness area (WILDERNESS–ha!) …and all of that area is easily reached by walking or bike or if handicapped by electric mini pod. ”

    A goal of community is to have best restaurants and entertainment and jobs and recreation within walking distance so that travel is dramatically reduced.

    The suckers wouldn’t even know they were in Vermont.

  2. Matt Dunne, I believe, lives in and is from Thetford, so I can’t imagine he’s wild about the prospect of a bunch of fundamentalists plopping down in his hometown right near the farm.

    1. Looks like they had a good turn out and couple VT State Reps showed up too! Haven’t seen any coverage in the papers or other media ( WCAX, Vermont’s best new source)

  3. In a nearby town zoning rules include: each new home must have at least 2 acres to build. Why don’t these towns enact stricter zoning laws for building?

    Hermitage, a private resort complex in Wilmington/W.Dover is required to provide their own services which the town provides to other residents.

    Many towns do not provide road service maintenance to newly built neighborhoods on certain roads, they are private and residents must maintain them at own expense, mail service is not provided but is delivered at the foot of the road.

    In the early 70s developers flooded VT — it was a huge controversy — a citizen activist, don’t think she was part of a group, came to our public school and other schools around the state with slideshows showing what developers were doing with postage-stamp sized lots for sale, numbered & lined up side by side. Probably wanted us to tell our parents b/c there certainly was nothing we could do but made a big impact on me. I think it was Act 250 that ended this practice.

    This haughty horses-ass even wants to sculpt the landscape, flatten it, which will require blasting & unless I missed something even claims he will prevail in Act 250 court.

    VT leaders should send a clear message we are open for business but not for sale. Bothers me greatly that more of our fearless leaders are not weighing in including presumptive Republican Phil Scott. VT needs to adjust our zoning laws & water quality laws asap b/c water is a hot-button environmental issue & will become moreso in the future.

    With the damage to wells from fracking and contaminated drinking water supplies in other states clean air, water & agricultural lands will be at a premium. Plus there b/c of the resultant seismic shift there have been tremors reported. States which are the friendliest to the likes of this selfish egomaniac & their madness are offering a defacto standing invitation.

    May I suggest Mr Hall move his planned Morman polygamous cult to Texas as the YFZ FLDS perverts have had the good sense to do or other flattter-lands if our mountains are in his way.

  4. David Hall does not have the money to bribe Vermonters as needed and is too old to ever see his first permit for a kiosk. He should kiss the project ‘goodbye’ while it is merely a multimillion dollar loss. Act 250 is designed to bleed money out of dreamers not to allow development. Besides, winter in Utah has great skiing and breathtaking vistas whereas Vermont is replete with dirty snow, grim grayness, drunk drivers, predatory highway police and a lack of variety as that would only appear if capitalism were allowed. David, Run,Run David Hall..

  5. David Hall using Agenda 21 has come up in the conversation in other blogs. A new one for me, haven’t researched beyond cursory speed-read. Have discovered that like everything else in our world, politically polarizing with left & right offering opposing views.

    So, could this be what’s up Mr Halls sleeve & weirdly confidant certainty that he will prevail. Does A-21 trump our state laws or will it at some hidden appointed date.

    And, have seen some evidence which points to A-21 already being enacted in certain places. Beginning to wonder if cult-like entities can sign on to be fast-tracked to promote the goals of A-21 &interests of dual agendas.

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