Stowe Mountain Resort plans on expanding one of its small parking lots tenfold.
The gravel lot, located across Route 108 from the resort’s cross-country skiing center on Harlow Hill, serves the resort’s shipping and receiving warehouse and an administrative/storage building, according to a project application in the Stowe zoning office.
It currently only parks 30, but resort officials want to expand it to 299 parking spots and use it for, among other things, overflow parking during the ski season — on the weekends and holidays for employees and during peak times for guests.
The town’s development review board had originally scheduled a hearing on the project for Aug. 18, but it was pulled from the agenda. According to Jeff Wise, the resort's senior manager for communication, the project is still "moving forward in the planning and approval stages."
The application, submitted by Vail Resorts, anticipates guest overflow parking will be necessary 15-20 percent of the ski season. Resort shuttles would run between the lot and the resort base.
The application says the lot “will act as a buffer to reduce traffic” during peak periods by allowing guests a place to park after the main lots fill up.
“Providing additional parking options for visitors to Stowe Mountain Resort is a necessary and appropriate action to deliver a positive guest experience,” the application reads.
Traffic can be a nightmare on busy ski weekends, especially if combined with monster snowstorms, such as the past two Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekends. This year, it took a state plow truck 2 hours and 45 minutes to make it from Stowe village to the resort, a distance of 8 miles.
There had been talk when Vail took over operations in 2018 that the area near the Toll Road was low-hanging fruit for parking expansion. This parking lot is located about 1,000 feet downhill from there.
The work will entail paving and striping the surface, re-aligning the driveway, adding wastewater management services, lighting and landscaping, and including spots for electric vehicle charging stations. The storage building on site would be demolished to make room for the improvements.
The Stowe Development Review Board meets Aug. 18 at 5 p.m. To attend the meeting via Zoom, us02web.zoom.us/j/83351100884.