In re Waterfront Park Act 250 Amendment (Alison Lockwood, Appellant)Annotate this Case
In 1990, the City of Burlington obtained a land-use permit for the Waterfront Park (the Park). The City hosted a number of events at the Park in the summer of 1993 and may have hosted others prior to that time. In December 1993, the City applied for an amendment to its permit to allow for hosting of festivals and public events at the Park. During the amendment process, the City argued against any express permit condition regarding the timing, duration, and frequency of events and sound levels, taking the position that the City Parks and Recreation Commission should regulate these matters. In February 1994, after considering the impact on neighboring residents caused by noise and traffic from events, the district commission granted the amendment and imposed twenty-six conditions, some of which related to the maximum sound levels associated with events at the Park, when and where to measure those sound levels, and the timing and number of events that could be held at the Park. In August 2008, Allison Lockwood purchased her property located at 200 Lake Street, adjacent to the Park. Prior to purchasing the property, she researched and read the 1994 Permit, and specifically relied on the permit conditions governing the timing and frequency of events at the Park and the maximum allowed sound levels. At the time of her purchase, the neighbor was aware that festivals and events would take place at the Park, but she understood these events would be limited by the conditions in the permit. Neighbor was nevertheless significantly impacted by the events and festivals, experiencing loud noise for extended periods of time, significant vehicular and pedestrian traffic congestion, and limits on her ability to sleep, spend time outdoors, open her windows, and enjoy her property. This case began in November of 2012 when the City filed an application with the district environmental commission to amend a number of conditions in the 1994 permit. Lockwood appealed the amended land-use permit to the Environmental Division, then appealed when the Environmental Division awarded summary judgment to the City of Burlington. The Environmental Division ruled that the City is entitled to seek an amendment to its Act 250 permit covering the Waterfront Park located on the shores of Lake Champlain. Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed.