BERLIN – The recent rebirth of a commercial strip once dubbed Berlin’s “Million Dollar Mile” could be hampered by local flood-related restrictions that exceed federal standards.
So say some who own property along the Barre-Montpelier Road – a group that has urged the Select Board to nudge the Planning Commission to revisit an ordinance first floated a year ago and approved by voters last March.
Although the ordinance allows for “redevelopment” in the flood plain it essentially prohibits “new development” – a change that almost scuttled plans to construct Panera Bread at the Central Vermont Shopping Center and may have stalled a proposal to build a CVS
Pharmacy near the signalized intersection that is located at the base of the Berlin State Highway.
Both the restaurant that is now under construction and the pharmacy are located in the town’s highway commercial district and most, if not all, of that district, which runs along the Stevens Branch of the Winooski River, is located in the flood plain.
But for a 13-year-old permit that was issued for a bank that was never built Pomerleau Real Estate’s plans to lure Panera Bread to the Central Vermont Shopping Center would have been barred by an ordinance that some property owners and their representatives have claimed was adopted without their knowledge or input.
The ordinance, they say, is excessive and unnecessary and should be modified, at least with respect to the Barre-Montpelier Road where many of the more than 200 parcels that were affected by the change are located.
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