Archive - Sep 25, 2008
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury Development Review Board (DRB) on Monday gave its final, conditional approval to a proposed Staples store in The Centre/Hannaford shopping plaza off Route 7 South.
Developers, however, will have much work to do if they are to proceed with their plans for the 14,737-square-foot office supplies store. The 24-page page decision calls for Middlebury Associates LLC, to, among other things:
• Submit a final planned unit development master plan showing that The Centre/Hannaford plaza will “be deemed fully built out with the Staples, based on the zoning limitations of traffic capacity, parking and town plan conformance.”
That limitation, according to the final decision, encompasses the former Middlebury Car Wash property at the southern end of The Centre, a site recently acquired by Middlebury Associates, LLC (aka Myron Hunt Inc.) and previously slated for a Starbucks. Starbucks withdrew its Middlebury plans earlier this year, amid a company-wide reorganization.
The DRB decision states that the former “car wash site asphalt must be reduced to accommodate only an egress drive for one-way exiting southbound traffic, while the remainder of the car wash site shall be restored to green space with grass, shrubs and tree plantings.”
• Build access connections between The Centre and the neighboring Middlebury Short Stop and former Dollar Market. The decision notes that developers agreed to those connections — designed to improve traffic flow and circulation into, and out of, the shopping plaza — on April 27, 2004, as part of the approval for the new National Bank of Middlebury building. Those connections have not been built.
• Carry out a series of sidewalk connections, entrance upgrades, crosswalks improvements and landscape additions to enhance pedestrian safety and aesthetics within the plaza.
By KATHRYN FLAGG
BRISTOL — The Bristol Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) voted last Thursday to reject the contentious proposal from the Lathrop Limited Partnership to construct and operate a 39-acre gravel pit on its property at South Street and Rounds Road in Bristol.
The board’s decision, however, which comes nearly two months after the board wrapped up evidentiary hearings on the issue, falls short of closure for Bristol’s heated five-year debate on the project. Earlier this week, Jim Lathrop’s lawyer, Mark Hall, indicated that the Lathrops intend to file an appeal to the decision before the 30-day window for an appeal closes.
The ZBA voted 5 to 2 to deny the Lathrop application. Acting Chair Kevin Brown and board members Carol Clauss, Peter Grant, Paul Jackman and Brenda Tillberg voted to reject the project, with Bob Stetson and Ron Kowalski dissenting.
The ZBA found that the Lathrop application for conditional use did not fulfill a subsection in the town’s zoning bylaws that prohibits the creation of a gravel pit, “unless provision is made to refill such pit.”
The section in question — section 526 — deals specifically with commercial sand and gravel operations, outlining 10 requirements for these operations in Bristol. The board found that the Lathrop proposal met the majority of these requirements, and indeed was a stronger application than the original proposal submitted to the ZBA in 2003.
According to the ZBA’s decision, the second of these 10 requirements, which calls for any pit created to be refilled, is designed to favor small projects that can be refilled economically or the opening of a hillside where slopes and contours can be smoothed into the surrounding landscape.
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — While other Addison County residents opened presents last Christmas, Jinny Duncan and her family were simply thankful to be spending the day in a warm house.
And the way fuel costs are going, Duncan isn’t optimistic there will be many gifts to open this Christmas, either.
“Higher fuel costs means the difference between having the money to pay for things you need every day, and having enough heat to keep the kids warm,” Duncan, a Bristol resident, said.
“It’s a very scary time to be a Vermonter.”
Many other area families are now sharing that same view on the cusp of a Vermont winter that will dawn with the national economy in a dive and heating fuel prices — already above an average of $3.50 per gallon — poised to rise further with demand.
“Everyone is really concerned this year,” said Karen Haury, executive director of Addison Community Action/Central Vermont Office of Economic Opportunity (ACA/CVOEO). “(Fuel prices) are on everybody’s mind almost everywhere you go. That’s what they are talking about.”
Haury on Monday conducted a survey of six Addison County heating fuel dealers and found prices for No. 2 heating oil ranging from $3.59 per gallon to $4.26 per gallon.
And that’s not where prices will stay, if recent history is any indication, according to Haury.
“Within a week, I expect to see a big spike up,” she said.
And when those prices spike as demand rises and the nights get colder, needy households — a broadening segment of the population in today’s economy — will seek assistance from ACA/CVOEO, other human services organizations and area citizen/church groups.