BRATTLEBORO -- An Act 250 hearing for a proposed supermarket on Putney Road has been recessed while the Agency of Transportation and the developers try to come up with a traffic plan that both sides can agree on.
ALDI, a discount grocer, wants to tear down the Kipling Cinema at 762 Putney Road and build a new 16,000-square-foot market.
The developers want to change the way traffic flows into and out of the parking lot. They want vehicles to be able to turn left, directly toward the store, instead of having to go all the way down toward Staple's, and then turning left.
The Vermont Agency of Transportation does not like the plan and the ACT 250 hearing, which was held on June 4, was recessed so VTrans and the developers can come up with a new traffic plan.
"The Commission requests that the applicant work with the Vermont Agency of Transportation to optimize the access and circulation plan, to minimize conflicts and the safety issues and provide clearly identified, safe pedestrian connections to parking areas and surrounding stores and destinations," the District Two Environmental Commission wrote following the hearing.
Joe Molle, Investment Officer for Unison Realty Partners, which owns the property and will lease it to ALDI, said he could not comment on the VTrans ruling while the Act 250 hearing is still under way.
Molle said he was confident his company would be able to work with the state, and the company was
"Everybody who we have worked with in Brattleboro has been great," Molle said. "We have been working with the town for over a year and we think we will be able to support our case with the state."
According to the VTrans Traffic Research Unit, there are presently no major conflict points upon entering the plaza, but the proposed change would create two conflict points as entering vehicles try to cross two lanes of exiting traffic.
VTrans also said if too many vehicles enter the plaza and want to turn into Aldi's, traffic could back up on to Putney Road.
If the change is permitted VTrans wants Aldi to perform traffic monitoring studies and examine crash records after six months, one year and five years.
Those records should be turned over to the state, VTrans recommends, and mitigation measures should be applied if the new traffic pattern has increased the number of accidents.
The Agency of Transportation can not reject the Act 250 permit outright, but instead has party status and offers input to the three-member Commission, which ultimately rules for the state.
Unison Realty has obtained the local permits from the Brattleboro Development Review Board.
Sue Fillion, with the Brattleboro Planning Department, said the DRB has already decided that the market meets the town's planning guidelines.
"The state wants the applicant and VTrans to work together to work something out," she said. "The town is supportive of the proposed ALDI's site plan."
Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at hwtisman@reformer .com, or 802-254-2311 ext. 279.