In May 2015, Jesse “Sam” Sammis submitted an application to develop over one million square feet of office, residential, and industrial space on prime farmland at Exit 4 in Randolph, Vermont. Beyond having some of the best agricultural soils in the state, this land is the gateway to Randolph and provides incredible views that are a point of pride for the community.
VNRC, along with partners the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), the Preservation Trust of Vermont (PTV), and Exit 4 Open Space (E4OS), banded together and intervened in the Act 250 permit process to fight this sprawling development. After four hearings Mr. Sammis withdrew his application and approached us to discuss other options.
Nearly two years later, VNRC and these same partners were given an opportunity to permanently conserve the land at Exit 4 for farming, views, and the community, by raising $1 million in just one month to purchase 22 acres. Thanks to hundreds of generous Vermonters and the hard work of this partnership, in the summer of 2017 VNRC reached our one million dollar goal.
When added to the 150 acres that the Castanea Foundation, a private operating foundation that works to protect Vermont’s working landscapes, purchased to sell to a farmer, a total of 172 acres of vulnerable land was protected from development and kept in agricultural use. Together, as the result of a massive effort and fundraising campaign, we saved Exit 4.
Did you know?
In 1999 a sculpture by Jim Sardonis called “Reverence,” colloquially known as “Whales’ Tails,” was moved from its original home off Exit 4 in Randolph to South Burlington when the land was sold to developers. In 2019, two years after VNRC helped save the farmland around Exit 4, the sculpture’s original birthplace got another chance with the installation of “Whale Dance,” thanks to work by the Preservation Trust of Vermont and the Vermont Community Foundation. Now there’s an inspired ending!
Group photo: Marjorie Ryerson. Whale Dance: Colin Keegan.