POWNAL, Vt. -- The owners of the Southern Vermont Energy Park have taken their grievance over last year's property value assessment to civil court.
Last year, on the heels of a townwide property reappraisal, the town dropped the 144-acre site's value to $998,900. It had been $1,000,520. The site once was home to Green Mountain Race Track, which closed in 1992 and was bought by Progress Partners in the mid-2000s. Development had been slow there, with a number of projects ending as false starts, but this summer has seen beginning of construction on a 2.2-megawatt solar generating facility.
The town's reappraisal essentially flipped the values of the land itself and the aging grandstand structure. The land is now valued by the town at close to $900,000 while the grandstand's value was lowered to roughly $100,000.
According to filings in Bennington Superior Court Civil Division, Progress Partners has gone through the normal channels for appealing the energy park's value. Members of the Board of Civil Authority, which includes the Select Board, visited the site on Oct. 25, 2011, and wrote that the property has drainage issues from Route 7 and the grandstand suffers a leaking roof, broken windows and energy inefficiency.
They also wrote while the property is unique to others in town, it has potential. In its appeal filings, Progress Partners claims the property's value is not comparable to similar properties.
At its meeting