Reopening sought for Middlebury Sunoco gas station

MIDDLEBURY — Owners of the former Sunoco station at 49 Court St. are seeking permission to re-open the dormant business for gasoline sales, car wash service and automotive repairs.

But in order to achieve its goal, Rexbo Development — which owns the 2,142-square-foot building on four-tenths of an acre — will have to prove, among other things, that the business has been legally open at some point during the past five years, noted Middlebury Zoning Administrator Ted Dunakin. That’s because Rexbo, a subsidiary of Sandri Energy, is seeking to re-establish a pre-existing, nonconforming business (gas station) in the town’s office-apartment zoning district.

A pre-existing, nonconforming business can be re-established within a year, without a permit, Dunakin said. But if that nonconforming business has not functioned within five years from the date it was last open, it cannot be re-established, he said.

Dunakin acknowledged the station pumped gas for a while last winter “without appropriate approvals.”

Rexbo officials will present their arguments at a Development Review Board meeting slated for Monday, June 24, at 7 p.m. in the municipal building.

Other businesses have sought to occupy the spot in recent years, most recently the Vermont Energy Co. (in 2011). The Ferrisburgh-based company had sought to establish an alternative convenience store at the location.

Rexbo officials indicated in their application to the town that “only cosmetic repairs to some of the wood siding and some fresh paint will be needed to open.” They said the business has always been a good neighbor. The property is located close to Mary Hogan Elementary School. While the business was dormant many parents parked on the station’s property while dropping off their kids for school.

Reporter John Flowers is at johnf@addisonindependent.com.

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Middlebury, VT 05753

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