Archive - May 1, 2008
By MEGAN JAMES
MIDDLEBURY — More than a hundred people fanned out across an open field east of Middlebury’s Porter Hospital on Saturday, kicking through dead grass, looking for a trace of missing Middlebury College freshman Nicholas Garza.
“My son had on jeans, he had on a long-sleeved, red, button-down shirt and he has a size 12 tennis shoe on,” his mother, Natalie Garza, told the crowd of volunteer searchers packed into the bleachers at Kenyon Arena before they began the full-day search. “His cell phone, wallet, his badge to his room have not been found.”
Searchers made their way north from the hospital grounds to Mr. Up’s Restaurant — some searched the Otter Creek from kayaks — turning up nothing more than a few articles of clothing that didn’t match Garza’s profile.
Leading the search was Gary Peterson, an investigator for the Minnesota Regional Medical Examiner’s Office who consulted on the Garza case in March as part of Texas EquuSearch, a private search and rescue organization. He returned to Middlebury at the suggestion of Nan O’Brien, a Vermont medium and spiritual advisor working with the Garza family. O’Brien previously helped Peterson with a case in Iowa.
Nick Garza was last seen leaving a Middlebury College dorm on the night of Feb. 5. He has not contacted any family or friends, and it does not appear that he was unhappy in Middlebury. Local police have headed up the investigation and previous searches that have included sixteen organizations, more than 200 search personnel, two helicopters, two airplanes and 13 search dogs.
According to Middlebury Police Chief Tom Hanley, Saturday’s volunteer search organized by Natalie Garza, covered very little ground that hadn’t already been searched.
By CYRUS LEVESQUE
BRISTOL — The Bristol community got a chance to give an earful to the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) and representatives of the Lathrop Limited Partnership about plans for a gravel pit south of downtown Bristol.
Some area residents spoke up to support Lathrop’s plans for a pit saying it would provide a needed resource — gravel — and its risks are overstated. But almost all members of the public who addressed the board feared its effects on its neighbors and the area.
“I can’t imagine how heavy industry can be allowed in an area not zoned for heavy industry,” Bristol resident Charles Manning told the board.
The plan to open the gravel pit began with an application in 2003 by the family of James Lathrop. The ZBA approved the plan in 2004, but a group calling itself Smart Growth for Bristol, founded by Bristol resident John Moyers and represented by local lawyer James Dumont, appealed that decision. After various hearings in Vermont Environmental Court, Lathrop Limited Partnership in August 2007 filed a new plan with a number of changes, including an access road via Rounds Road.
Opponents of the plan have waited awhile to weigh in on the latest proposal. Tuesday’s hearing followed two other ZBA hearings — one in November and one in March — at which there was only enough time for comments from those involved in building and operating the proposed pit. An estimated 30 to 40 Bristol residents attended Tuesday’s meeting, as well as a few from surrounding towns. About 20 people spoke at the hearing.
Manning, who has visited the Bristol area for decades and recently bought a house on Lower Notch Road, said he was dismayed when he learned about the plan and its effect on the neighborhood. He has not been alone in questioning whether the parcel was zoned for a gravel pit.
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — Developers of a proposed Staples store off Route 7 South will have to make their project less of a potential contributor to area traffic congestion and more in conformance with Middlebury’s town plan if it is to advance further through the community’s permitting process.
The Middlebury Development Review Board (DRB) issued those and other findings on Tuesday in its preliminary review of a 14,737-square-foot Staples store that Myron Hunt Inc. wants to build next to the Hannaford Supermarket portion of The Centre shopping plaza.
“This is not a final decision,” Middlebury Town Planner Fred Dunnington stressed of the DRB report. “It identifies things that need to happen if the project is going to proceed. It lays out the process to take the project to the next step.”
The next steps for Myron Hunt Inc., according to the DRB report, will be to:
• Submit a master plan and narrative, showing — among other things — how traffic circulating in an around the project site will not only affect The Centre shopping plaza, but adjacent properties across Route 7 and on Middle Road.
• Demonstrate how the project can conform to specific provisions of the Middlebury town plan. For example, the town plan already identifies the stretch of Court Street/Route 7 from Creek Road to Boardman Street as an “area … not appropriate for new or expanded large-scale shopping mall development, similar to the existing Hannaford Plaza to the south.”
• Adhere to an existing agreement that The Centre would work with adjoining property owners (the Dollar Market, and the Mobil station, owned by Jolley Associates) to link their respective parking lots to improve traffic flow.