BETA Technologies, the pioneering electric aircraft company based at Burlington International Airport, has applied for an amendment to an existing Act 250 permit to build a $122 million, 344,000-square foot aircraft assembly facility on about 50 acres at the airport in South Burlington.
Act 250 is Vermont’s land use law that governs all major development in the state.
BETA Technologies has created an electric aircraft capable of carrying cargo and people and announced last May that it expected the assembly facility to create 500 jobs.
Kyle Clark, founder and chief executive officer of BETA, said in a conference call in May 2021 the facility will produce between 250 and 400 aircraft per year. Clark said at the time he hoped to break ground on the facility located off of Valley Road as soon as September 2021.
“BETA is focused on creating a cleaner future for aviation, and we’re grateful to be working on these solutions right here in Vermont,” a BETA spokesperson said Monday. “If the permits are approved, this new assembly facility will allow us to continue growing here, which means tons of new jobs for our community and a solidified path to making Vermont a hub for clean energy and sustainability.
BETA, founded in 2017, closed a private round of funding in May 2021 that raised $368 million, and was joined by Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund. Clark said in May that BETA had just over 200 employees doing certification engineering for its zero-emissions ALIA aircraft.
The Act 250 application indicates the BETA facility will be approximately 450 feet by 580 feet and approximately 60 feet tall, although when viewed from the street will be 40 feet tall, with “the rest of the facility concealed below the level of the grade at the front of the building.”
Plans for the building include a geothermal system for heating and cooling, solar, and “grey water harvesting.” The primary exterior wall material will be “white-colored insulated metal panel cladding.”
“The highly insulated composite panels will include vertical fins within the panel joints to provide shadow and texture at the long facade,” the application states.
BETA is requesting a 50% reduction in its Act 250 permitting fee to $82,500, which would normally be $165,000, based on the construction value of the project.
“While we understand our obligation to pay a fee for the administrative review of our application, we believe that the amount of $165,000 is excessive for a number of reasons,” BETA Team Member Art Klugo wrote in a letter on Jan. 3. “Projects at Burlington International Airport have been reviewed under Act 250 for over 30 years. Our project will be processed as a Minor Amendment, as we have close to 70 preceding projects at the airport.”
Klugo adds that the BETA project is in keeping with the master plan for the airport and has been reviewed by the City of South Burlington under its master plan process.
Contact Dan D’Ambrosio at 660-1841 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @DanDambrosioVT. This coverage is only possible with support from our readers.