Bristol Act 250 hearing next week

BRISTOL — Proponents and opponents of a gravel pit near the Bristol village will meet again on Monday for an Act 250 hearing, the latest chapter of a years long fight over a proposed 26-acre excavation project off of Rounds Road.
After two separate applications for town zoning permits and several appeals to the state Environmental Court, commissioners from Rutland County will weigh in on whether or not the proposed gravel pit conforms with Act 250, the state’s Land Use and Development Act.
The hearing will begin on Monday at 9 a.m. at Mount Abraham Union High School. The Act 250 commissioners and other interested parties will make a visit to the site of the proposed pit, and then reconvene at the high school auditorium for the hearing.
The board has reserved the auditorium for three days, and the hearing could easily run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day until Wednesday afternoon. If at that time the hearing is not complete, the commission will adjourn and set a date for a future meeting.
The hearing will include testimony from individuals, homeowners and town officials who’ve been listed as parties in the case. Acting on the advice of its lawyer, the Bristol selectboard decided against filing a letter commenting on the pit and instead is sending Town Administrator Bill Bryant to testify as a witness in the hearing.
Bristol resident Jim Lathrop has been seeking permission to build the proposed gravel pit on his 65-acre parcel since 2004, when he first filed an application with the town seeking a conditional use zoning permit.
Since then, though, the project has been waylaid at several turns: Though the town’s Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) approved Lathrop’s 2004 applications, residents in the town opposed to the pit appealed the decision to the state Environmental Court. Lathrop later filed a separate, modified 2007 application, but the ZBA rejected Lathrop’s request, a decision Lathrop in turn appealed.
But any decisions at the Environmental Court level have been postponed until a decision is made about the proposal’s Act 250 status.
Reporter Kathryn Flagg is at [email protected].

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