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A battle over space

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A battle over space

In Vermont, development winning another round

By Sarah Schweitzer, Globe Staff

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It's horrible what these box corporations are doing do my great state. They are just the beginning of the development, because Vermont is such a desirable place to live. They will come here, and build over farms and other things so important to Vermont's economy. Something has to be done.

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The powers that be in Burlington should be consulting with their counterparts in Portland, Oregon to see how they implemented the growth boundaries. I think Oregon and Vermont have quite similar cultures, and the populace of Vermont obviously wants to see something done. The Portland growth model could work well in Burlington.

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A little good news on the space front. A dense affordable development, near the village centre, that allows a farmer to make some money while continuing to farm the rest of his land. Sounds like a good deal all around.

Hayfield to become housing project

By Laurie Balliett

Correspondent

RICHMOND -- What used to be the Peet family farm's hayfield soon will be Richmond's highest-density, affordable housing project.

Most parcels in Richmond are one unit per acre, said Town Administrator Ron Rodjenski. This project will have 13 units on 3.26 acres. The five detached houses and eight units in four duplexes will be sold individually. Each unit has a garage.

Church Street Properties L.L.C. broke ground last month on the project at the end of Church Street. The street will remain a dead end but will be twice as long. Church Street is off Bridge Street, west of U.S. 2.

"It doesn't hurt my farming operation at all. We sold something and I'm still able to have the farm intact," said Danny Peet.

The duplex units will range in price from $139,900 for an 880-square-foot unit built above a garage to $179,900 for a 1,500-square-foot half a duplex with a detached garage. The detached, single-family units will sell for $229,900. Six of the 13 units are under contract, said Brett Grabowski, the developer and owner of Church Street Properties L.L.C.

With new sidewalks, residents will have a safer route to walk or bike to the park on Bridge Street, said Pennie Rand, a Church Street resident. Rand said she and other Church Street residents thought the residential development was a good idea, but would rather see all single-family units, not duplexes.

The residents group worked hard over the course of a year and a half to get the number of single-family detached units increased from one to five, Rand said.

Neighbors also are concerned about the number of cars the new development will bring, Rand said. Morning traffic is often backed up along Bridge Street from U.S. 2 past Church Street, she said. If each unit has two cars, that could add 26 cars to the mix.

Grabowski said clustering the houses within the village area is "what smart growth is all about."

"This project is different from the already existing Lake Champlain Housing Project to the North of Church Street," which it abuts, Grabowski said. "Those units are low-income rental housing, while these are affordable, individual family homes."

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, housing is affordable when households with incomes below an area's median income pay no more than 30 percent of their income on housing.

"People are moving into the units because it's housing in the village of Richmond, it's a quaint little community," Grabowski said. "It's been a long time since any building has been done in the town of Richmond."

He said the project should be completed by spring.

From The Burlington Free Press

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