Shires withdraws application, plans to refile
BENNINGTON -- Shires Housing has withdrawn its application for a $5.5 million housing project, but will refile.
The move comes two days after a Development Review Board hearing during which, after several abutters to the project claimed they had not been given notice of the hearings, an engineer for the project said it appeared some notices were sent to the wrong place. There were also questions about notification requirements for those living in condominiums.
"Because of the questions raised regarding proper notification of abutting property owners, we've decided to withdraw our application, and plan to resubmit a very similar application in the near future," said John Broderick, executive director of Shires Housing.
He did not give a precise timeline for the new application, but said all those who are entitled to be notified will get the notifications.
Town Planning Director Dan Monks said when Shires Housing resubmits the application, the DRB process will start over again. New notifications will be sent out and evidence and testimony will have to be resubmitted. Nothing from the previous DRB meetings will be considered unless it is put forward again -- including what was brought up by the public.
Monks said that before the application was withdrawn, the DRB was mulling over how to proceed. It would have had to decide if there was a problem with the notifications, and if there was, to restart the process. The public could have also appealed the DRB's decision through the courts.
It's a moot issue, since the resubmitted application will be treated as new.
Shires Housing is a private non-profit housing corporation that has plans to build 24 new rental units aimed at the $25,000 to $36,000 income range on the undeveloped portion of Appleridge Condominiums, just off Silver Street.
The project has received a great deal of backlash from the community. Opponents say the project will bring crime, traffic, lower property values, unfair competition for private landlords, and will harm the tax base.
The site the project is being proposed for was already approved for a condominium development in 2006, so what Shires Housing is seeking is an amended permit from the DRB. Broderick said it will also go for an amendment to the project's Act 250 permit, which is the state-level permitting process.
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