The owner of a home on Mountain Road is suing the Stowe town government for denying it more sewer capacity.
The lawsuit was filed this spring in Lamoille County Superior Court’s civil division by VTRE Investments, which owns a single-family home at 4409 Mountain Road, between the Innsbruck Inn and the Northern Lights Lodge.
The suit alleges the town relied on outdated calculus in denying the sewer allocation and asserts the select board’s decision to deny came at an “impromptu” meeting without giving the owner or its lawyers time to prepare and attend the meeting.
The town has denied the charges in court.
According to minutes from the Feb. 11 select board meeting, VTRE applied to increase the sewer allocation so it could add a fourth bedroom to the existing home. The town denied the request, saying the property is in a zone with Act 250 restrictions.
Those restrictions were imposed as part of the town’s 2001 expansion of its sewer system, limiting “the amount of sewer flow that can be connected to the system.”
The minutes note that, although a lister’s card indicates there were four bedrooms in the house at one point, there are still “no permits of any kind” showing more than three prior to the sewer expansion.
The house’s previous owner had received a wastewater permit for three bedrooms in 2010.
VTRE sued in May, asking the court to void the select board’s decision, saying it wasn’t based on sewer flow, “but instead on an improper consideration of ‘bedrooms.’”
“While gallons per day are generally determined by the number of bedrooms, the gallons per day standards for residential structures have changed so as to make a 2001-bedroom-to-2019-bedroom comparison invalid,” the suit reads.
The town responded by saying VTRE’s conclusions were incorrect, were “aspirational” and were “over-generalizations.”
“The Stowe sewer ordinance is one component in a comprehensive system for legal allocation of a proprietary resource of the town — its permitted and limited sewer disposal capacity,” the town’s response reads.
VTRE also asked the court to void the denial because it was reached at “a hearing held with improper notice.” It alleges VTRE sought the allocation on Feb. 7 and was told the next day it would be denied at the Feb. 11 board meeting.
“VTRE was thus prejudiced by the town’s late notice and impromptu inclusion of the matter at the Feb. 11 meeting,” the lawsuit reads. “Less than one business day of notice is not ‘reasonable notice.’”
In its response, the town’s lawyer said the application was actually received on Jan. 25, and denied that the select board meeting, which doubled as a meeting of the sewer commissioners, was improper.
VTRE is asking the court for attorney’s fees and other costs. A status conference is scheduled Oct. 18.