Archive - Mar 31, 2008
By CYRUS LEVESQUE
BRISTOL — The town of Bristol is getting nearly $250,000 in federal funds for improvements to the road, sidewalk, streets and pedestrian walkways in the village center, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., announced Thursday.
“We’re really pleased to get this money,” said Bristol town administrator Bill Bryant. “These funds will help implement some of the physical improvements that have been planned for several years as part of an effort to maintain the downtown's vitality,” he added.
Bristol selectmen aren’t sure yet what specifically the money will be used for, according to Selectwoman Carol Wells. The selectboard has a number of projects it would like to address in the downtown area when time and money become available.
“We’re getting prices for some of the different plans we have,” said Wells, who is also a founding member of the Bristol Downtown Community Partnership, a nonprofit group devoted to improvements in Bristol downtown.
Those projects may include adding trees, a grassy area, footpaths, curbs and sidewalks to Prince Lane between Brooks Pharmacy, Shaw’s Supermarket and the back of the Main Street businesses. The town may also add curbs to the Brooks Pharmacy parking lot or the corner of the town green near the playground equipment or new lights to the town green.
An estimate made in 2007 for the Prince Lane project alone was about $400,000, so the town would have to seek grants from other sources to support the rest of the work.
By JOHN FLOWERS
GOSHEN — The Vermont Supreme Court on Friday issued a majority opinion overturning the felony “cultivation of marijuana” conviction of a Goshen man on grounds that the man’s constitutional rights were violated by authorities’ aerial search of his property.
The ruling is expected to set a major precedent for how law enforcement in Vermont conducts aerial searches.
In June of 2005 Addison County District Court Judge Christina Reiss sentenced Stephen Bryant to 45 days in jail in connection with his cultivation of 49 marijuana plants that he said he’d been using to treat chronic pain from a horrific construction site accident he had sustained in 1974.
Vermont State Police detected his illegal crop during a helicopter flyover of Bryant’s Goshen property on Aug. 7, 2003. They executed a search warrant the next day.
Bryant and his attorney, Robert Keiner of Middlebury, argued that Bryant had been using the marijuana for medicinal purposes and that the aerial photographs constituted an illegal search. A majority of the Supreme Court justices agreed to the latter argument but did not take up the former.
The opinion, written by Justice Marilyn Skoglund, noted — among other things — testimony offered by the defense quoting witnesses as saying the VSP’s surveillance helicopter was less than 500 feet above Bryant’s property for around 30 minutes.
“The (lower) court concluded that the police surveillance was not so intrusive as to violate the Vermont Constitution,” the opinion reads. “We disagree and reverse.”
The justices also noted that state laws governing aeronautics require that aircraft must maintain an altitude of at least 500 feet, except above water or sparsely populated areas.
By CYRUS LEVESQUE
NEW HAVEN — New Haven resident and property owner Steve Dupoise has filed a petition to rezone 20 acres of land along Route 7 south of Belden Falls Road to allow commercial development.
If the town votes to support the petition, Dupoise said that Town and Country Homes, a dealer of manufactured housing now based in Vergennes, would move to a five-acre parcel on the corner of Belden Falls Road and Route 7.
The planning commission of New Haven decided not to endorse the change, but the petition will result in a town vote on the matter.
In anticipation of the townwide vote, the commission will hold a public hearing to discuss the plan on Thursday, April 3, at 7 p.m. in the town hall. The selectboard will hold a hearing after that and then the vote will be scheduled.
Steve and Marcia Dupoise own a parcel of about 30 acres on the west side of Route 7, south of Belden Falls Road. The southernmost 10 acres is zoned as highway commercial and is already the site of Ethan Allen Highway Storage, which they own.
Steve Dupoise said Town and Country Homes owners Pat and Lisa Whitley approached him to see about moving their business to the Route 7 site for greater visibility. Whitley could not be reached for comment, but if the proposal to rezone the area is granted, Dupoise said Town and Country Homes would probably resemble a housing development, with two or three sample homes on the site and a small office.
Dupoise said he had no plans for the space between the existing storage company and the proposed site of Town and Country Homes, although the proposal to rezone includes that parcel, too.
According to New Haven Planning Commission chairman Al Karnatz, the commission had decided not to recommend the change when Dupoise approached them.