Blue Spruce Motel sold; cleanup imminent
MIDDLEBURY — The former Blue Spruce Motel property at 2428 Route 7 South in Middlebury has new owners who said the site will be cleared of debris by the end of this year in order to make way for a new headquarters for DeBisschop Excavating LLC.
Matt and Courtney DeBisschop closed on Monday on a deal to buy the property from Sam Sharma and his business partners who ran the Blue Spruce Motel, which burned in a fire back on July 12, 2017. The blaze left the burnt husk of a building that once provided inexpensive overnight stays for visitors and long-term lodging for others. Investigators linked the fire to an electrical mishap above the office portion of the motel.
Sharma had initially indicated a desire to build a new, two-story motel at the site. He never followed through with that plan. In the meantime, the charred vestiges of the structure have become a lingering eyesore for people entering and exiting Middlebury’s southern gateway.
The Middlebury selectboard last September filed a formal complaint with the local development review board in an effort to make the Blue Spruce owners clean up the site. Sharma at the time placed the cleanup cost at around $25,000, money he said he didn’t have.
The DeBisschops’ acquisition of the two-acre property was greeted with well-wishes and high-fives at Middlebury’s planning and zoning office on Tuesday.
“We were looking for places where there were like-kind businesses,” Courtney said of their desire to relocate their construction firm.
“It was an amicable transaction.”
While the prospect of a complicated site cleanup might have been off-putting for some prospective buyers of 2428 Route 7 South, the DeBisschops were all-in because of their background in excavation.
“For others, it would be kind of a daunting process,” Courtney said. “But it makes sense for us.”
The DeBisschops have applied for the state and local permits needed before they can remove the old motel debris. Once the site is cleared, the couple will seek local permission to erect a new office building for DeBisschop Excavating, now based out of the family’s home off Case Street.
“We’ve grown out of it,” Courtney explained.
Courtney DeBisschop, a local Realtor, said folks will need to be patient for just a little while longer as she and her husband wait for the requisite permits. They expect it will take at least 30 days to receive an environmental permit from the state. Meanwhile, Middlebury Town Planner Jennifer Murray said her office will prepare a demolition permit that will allow the couple to remove the motel debris as long as they follow state guidelines.
The couple has hired the Williston-based environmental firm NRC to handle any sensitive materials, such as debris containing asbestos or petroleum. Matt DeBisschop has the equipment and expertise to demolish and remove portions of the structure that aren’t subject to special handling. A lot of the construction debris will be taken to the nearby Addison County Solid Waste Management District transfer station, the DeBisschops noted.
Middlebury officials are pleased to see a new chapter begin for the former motel property.
“I’m thrilled the Blue Spruce site is under new ownership,” Murray said.
Reporter John Flowers is at firstname.lastname@example.org.