New Haven landowner seeks commercial permit for Route 7 land

NEW HAVEN — New Haven resident and property owner Steve Dupoise has filed a petition to rezone 20 acres of land along Route 7 south of Belden Falls Road to allow commercial development.
If the town votes to support the petition, Dupoise said that Town and Country Homes, a dealer of manufactured housing now based in Vergennes, would move to a five-acre parcel on the corner of Belden Falls Road and Route 7.
The planning commission of New Haven decided not to endorse the change, but the petition will result in a town vote on the matter.
In anticipation of the townwide vote, the commission will hold a public hearing to discuss the plan on Thursday, April 3, at 7 p.m. in the town hall. The selectboard will hold a hearing after that and then the vote will be scheduled.
Steve and Marcia Dupoise own a parcel of about 30 acres on the west side of Route 7, south of Belden Falls Road. The southernmost 10 acres is zoned as highway commercial and is already the site of Ethan Allen Highway Storage, which they own.
Steve Dupoise said Town and Country Homes owners Pat and Lisa Whitley approached him to see about moving their business to the Route 7 site for greater visibility. Whitley could not be reached for comment, but if the proposal to rezone the area is granted, Dupoise said Town and Country Homes would probably resemble a housing development, with two or three sample homes on the site and a small office.
Dupoise said he had no plans for the space between the existing storage company and the proposed site of Town and Country Homes, although the proposal to rezone includes that parcel, too.
According to New Haven Planning Commission chairman Al Karnatz, the commission had decided not to recommend the change when Dupoise approached them.
“They felt like … there were plenty of other undeveloped parcels,” Karnatz said. “One landowner coming in and asking to have their property rezoned causes some concern.”
Dupoise defended the idea. He said that Route 7 was among the best commercial space in the town so changes like this would make the community more business-friendly.
“New Haven’s not been really moving forward about commercial growth on Route 7, although I’m not sure where (else) they would want commercial growth to go,” he said.

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