Denecker, Ferrisburgh deal delayed, still on

FERRISBURGH — Denecker Chevrolet owner Tom Denecker told the Ferrisburgh selectboard on Tuesday the Act 250 process for his proposed new site on town-owned land at the junction of Routes 7 and 22A has been lengthy, but he has made progress elsewhere toward his proposed $350,000 purchase from the town.
“We have been steadily moving the ball,” Denecker said. “Now there’s a bit of a mire going on.”
Denecker told the board he has his town zoning permit and the support of parent company General Motors to consolidate on the roughly 35-acre parcel from his current sites at North Main Street in Vergennes and the junction of Monkton Road and Route 7. His plan would use about 4 acres of that land, while the remaining 31 acres would be conserved.
He is also optimistic Vergennes residents will back a proposal to extend a city sewer line to the parcel next to the Agency of Transportation’s park-and-ride lot.
“Vergennes is ready to take it to a vote of the people for us to have sewer,” Denecker said.
But earlier on Tuesday, Denecker said he had to resubmit and update his original May 20 Act 250 application.
His first application, he said, was met with “many an objection” from the area environmental district even though a similar application in another Act 250 Environmental District filed in April has already been approved.
Denecker said that the district official in charge of reviewing his application wrote that his project was “a poster child for sprawl,” even though Denecker had attached the proposed dealership to the VTrans park-and-ride lot.
Also problematic, Denecker said, was an attempt to apply a law that came into effect on July 1 to his application, which he said predates that law by almost six weeks.
“We’ve first got to get rid of that and get our application accepted on May 20,” Denecker said.
Still, Denecker — who noted he has already spent “just shy of $150,000” on the project — said he was optimistic the new application would answer the shortcomings of his earlier filing.
“We have now taken care of the objections,” Denecker said.
Selectboard chairwoman Loretta Lawrence asked Denecker if town officials should speak on his behalf.
“Are you thinking about us doing something at the same time?” Lawrence said.
Denecker said he didn’t think town involvement was needed at this point, instead stating he just wanted to update the selectboard on his efforts to fulfill the contract the parties signed in October.  
“I just thought it was important to let you know I haven’t rested on my laurels,” he said.
On Wednesday, Lawrence said she would recommend to the selectboard that Denecker be granted an extension on his purchase-and-sale contract if necessary, and that the board support him in the future if necessary.
Lawrence also noted Denecker’s proposed new dealership drew no opposition during the town permitting process.
“Absolutely, the town will support Tom however we can,” she said.
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].

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