DRB hears details for proposed Wilmington inn


WILMINGTON -- Representatives of a project aimed at filling three vacant buildings across from the Town Offices presented more details to the Development Review Board on July 14.

The plan is to turn those buildings into one inn equipped with a lobby, a carport and courtyard outside.

"We're going to keep new construction off the sidewalk," said architect Jonathan Saccoccio. "We're going to have retail space at the bottom and we're going to line up the windows with what's already there."

Saccoccio and Dennis Stanek, owner of the properties, represented Lorista Holdings LLC and Hermitage Inn Real Estate Holding Co LLC at the DRB meeting.

The Wilmington DRB previously approved an inn proposed where both groups were named as applicants. Renovations have begun at the site located at 15 West Main Street. That building is formerly known as the Vermont House.

The DRB closed the latest hearing and has 45 days to issue its decision on the application seeking to change the use of the 1, 3 and 5 East Main Street properties to an inn and retail store, install new windows and an elevator. The application also requires permission to remove the roof of 3 East Main Street.

DRB Chairman Peter Wallace brought up previous concerns, including whether the project would meet Preservation Trust of Vermont historic standards and state fire safety regulations. He said there was a lot of comments regarding architectural aesthetics of the connector between the Home Center and Professional Building, referring to the former names of two buildings involved in the application.

Since the last meeting with the DRB, the applicants had received a letter of support from the Preservation Trust. Wallace also said a complete set of plans had been submitted.

Before divulging those plans, Stanek mentioned the effect Tropical Storm Irene had on the town.

"It was hit hard with the storm," he said. "It's our intention to revitalize and bring traffic to downtown Wilmington again."

According to Stanek, local architectural firm Stevens and Associates reviewed the plans outlined in the application and said the project met flood review standards. Fire safety was also addressed. It is believed fire trucks can safely get to the site and there are adequate plans for egress if needed.

Plans regarding the connector building were changed since the last meeting with the DRB. Stanek says the new design would better fit into downtown Wilmington.

Instead of using brick, their plan is to use white cladboard. The connector will be set back to create a courtyard. Stanek envisioned people grabbing coffee from Dot's Restaurant and sitting and relaxing in the courtyard.

When it came to lighting for the project, he had another vision.

"We're thinking something like Vegas," said Stanek. "I'm kidding. It's our intention to make this building a cornerstone of Wilmington."

Their plan is to use cost effective, "green" lighting. A sign on the exterior would be an LED spotlight.

DRB member Wendy Manners mentioned the town's sign ordinance that was just rewritten by the Planning Commission, a group she chairs. The Selectboard has warned a public hearing for July 15, but until the ordinance is adopted, the project has to meet existing and proposed ordinances.

According to general contractor Scott Duquis, the Hermitage Club will be providing security for the proposed inn. Footage will be recorded then sent to headquarters where a security team will monitor it, he said. The Hermitage Club runs a ski resort on Haystack Mountain as well as an inn and golf course nearby.

Plans for improving the parking lot behind the property were unveiled at an earlier meeting but were not yet ready for the DRB to consider.

"We're kind of in partnership with the town," Duquis said. "There's anticipated parking lot improvements back there that have not been ironed out."

For now, visitors of the proposed inn will be directed to use the two public parking lots already available downtown.

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or cmays@reformer.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.


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