BRATTLEBORO — Site plans for Vermont Market Place, the former Outlet Center at Exit 1, were approved by the Development Review Board in a 6-0 vote.
Another unanimous vote at the board’s Aug. 18 hearing requires property owner Vermont RE Development LLC to conform to a zoning ordinance on signs within a year. Zoning Administrator Brian Bannon said the existing sign is too large, too tall and cannot be internally lit.
“The property came with the sign that apparently was installed in the ’90s,” said Paul Belogour, chairman of the company. (He also owns Vermont News and Media LLC, a new company which acquired the Reformer in May along with the Bennington Banner and Manchester Journal.)
Updates to the sign along Canal Street included removing the Outlet Center name and putting a Vermont Market Place logo on it with black paint. The sign could only be “grandfathered” in under zoning ordinances if ownership had not changed, Bannon said.
With construction underway for renovations at the property, Bannon suggested allowing the sign to remain in place for one to two years. Belogour asked for one year, expressing a hope to change town zoning to allow for a bigger sign.
“I think it helps businesses to be easily found by people who are new to the area,” Belogour said, adding that the neighboring gas station sign “is visible. Everything else is not. It will only help local businesses.”
The site plan calls for constructing a new parking area and new sidewalks, and improving access, landscaping and lighting. Access between the property and the Burger King parking lot will remain.
Alan Saucier, vice president of Pathways Consulting LLC, said the plan is to meet local zoning requirements on parking by having 190 spaces. Saucier counted about 116 to 120 spaces at the time of the hearing and said the property needs to have at least 155 spaces.
State stormwater regulations will be followed and project leaders are working with the state on getting a swale repaired to accommodate drainage at the property, Saucier said.
To meet town requirements, the plan is to have seven electric-vehicle stations in the parking lot.
Approval from the board for the site plan included conditions that require the company to have Bannon review and approve minor amendments needed to meet Vermont Agency of Transportation requirements for access, and any changes to the location of electric-vehicle chargers and landscaping. Long rows of parking will need to be broken up with additional landscaped islands on the south and east sides, with one island on the east row and three on the south side.
Belogour thanked the board and town. After Saucier spoke about town staff being very helpful throughout the permitting process, Bannon called the project “great.”
“It’s really exciting to see you folks doing this,” he said.