501 Main, Fairlee, VT

Fairlee, VT is a town of less than 1,000 people on the New Hampshire border. Since 2021, a small real estate developer has been working on a 10-unit development on the town’s Main Street, a mix of commercial uses and housing tucked between I-91 and the Connecticut River. The development will replace a vacant commercial building, and uses a state tax credit for downtown redevelopments. The developer has documented the process online, which provides useful insights into the financial and regulatory landscape for small mixed-use projects in small towns, including zoning rules that are out of scale with the existing built environment and lengthy review processes. The documentation also yields interesting insights on dealing with wastewater disposal through smart site planning and community septic, as well using shared parking strategies to meet zoning requirements.
Mixed-use construction underway on a constrained site on Main Street in Fairlee, VT. (Image via brickandmortar.substack.com)