Archive - Jul 11, 2008
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury Development Review Board (DRB) next week will draft a final list of requirements the developers of a proposed Staples will have to fulfill if they hope to get the green light to build the 14,600-square-foot office supplies store in The Centre shopping plaza off Route 7 South.
Those requirements, according to DRB Chairman John Barstow, may include a “master plan” depicting The Centre and its relationship with, and impact on, neighboring properties; an agreement between the developer (Middlebury Associates, aka Myron Hunt Inc.) and adjacent property owners on links between their respective parking lots to improve traffic flow in and out of The Centre; and landscaping, traffic island and crosswalk upgrades to improve pedestrian safety in The Centre.
Members of the DRB, during a three-hour hearing on the project on Monday, also asked Chris Hunt of Middlebury Associates to request that Staples slightly alter the location of the proposed store. Instead of having it built directly next to Hannaford Supermarket, some DRB members would prefer to see the store moved slightly south within The Centre, on land that is currently used for parking. DRB officials argued the lost parking spaces could be replaced on the spot currently being eyed for the store. They also argued that modifying the design of the store and bringing it slightly forward would give The Centre buildings a horseshoe-type configuration with a courtyard-style parking area that would be more visually pleasing and potentially safer for pedestrians.
Barstow cited the Courtyard by Marriott hotel, located across the street from The Centre, as an example of a company that ultimately agreed to forego prototype franchise architecture to meet the town regulations on architectural aesthetics.
“Nothing is impossible,” he said.
By JOHN FLOWERS
ADDISON COUNTY — There’s good news and bad news for Addison County farmers.
The good news is that milk prices have continued to remain strong, giving dairies a good return on their products.
The bad news is that skyrocketing production costs — particularly in the areas of fuel and feed — have all but negated the more robust return for milk.
“The price of milk and the price of inputs are not balancing,” said Addison County Farm Bureau President Bill Scott. “The cost of fertilizer has doubled, grain prices are way up and freight hauling is going to be up also because of the cost of diesel fuel.
“It’s the same old story,” he added. “Everyone is caught up in the cost squeeze, even though the price of milk is up.”
Bob Wellington, senior vice president economics, communications, and legislative affairs with Agri-Mark/Cabot, forecast a June blend price of $19.40 per hundredweight for milk, up around $1 compared to the May price. He projects another $1 bump in price for July.
It should be noted that the $19.40 represents the price in Boston; Vermont farmers, when factoring in transportation costs for their project, can expect to receive $18.50 to $19 per hundredweight, according to Wellington. He said the firm June price should be released next week.
The problem for many farmers is that even with milk prices now at around $6 per hundredweight more than three years ago, it’s still not enough to keep some farmers afloat.
“Vermont farmers need prices above $20 (per hundredweight) to cover all of their costs, because feed costs are so outrageous, and energy costs,” Wellington said. “It’s a real problem for farmers.”
By KATHRYN FLAGG
BRISTOL — Four weeks after a catastrophic, 40-foot fall from the roof of a Middlebury Main Street business, Robert Demic — the patient doctors are calling the “miracle man” — is looking forward to dancing his way back onto Addison County stages in a year’s time.
“I’ll be tap dancing in a year,” said 54-year-old Demic. “That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.”
Demic tumbled over 40 feet from the roof of Wild Mountain Thyme on June 9 after being knocked from his feet by what he believes was some sort of electrical shock. He was on the roof taking photographs of work he had completed for the business’s owner, Paula Israel. The camera dropped to the roof approximately 15 feet from the roof’s edge — exactly where Demic was standing at the time of what he believes was a massive shock.
“My memory is of being totally surprised, that I got blown backwards,” Demic said.
Israel, who was in her shop at the time, said she felt the building shake and heard “a big thump” — a sound she and Demic believe to have been his body hitting the roof, after which his body continued over the building’s edge.
Demic landed feet-first in a small patch of mud on the bank of Otter Creek behind the building close to the falls. When he came to, he said, he was disoriented but soon noticed his right leg was badly mangled and bleeding. He recalled struggling into the Otter Creek, which runs alongside the building, to wash away the blood from his leg — still dazed and partially incoherent.