Truckstop on Route 7 to be completed this year

FERRISBURGH — Champlain Oil Company’s major project on Route 7 in Ferrisburgh, including a Jiffy Mart and a McDonald’s Restaurant, is under construction now and expected to be completed before the end of the year, according to Champlain Oil President Tony Cairns.
COCO, as the company is known, in February cleared its final legal hurdle — a Vermont Supreme Court denial of an appeal by project opponents that ended a four-year court battle. At that time Cairns said he believed work would be done by April 2015.
In an email on Monday, Cairns said there is a new timetable for the project on the former home of the Ferrisburgh Roadhouse and Burdick’s Country Kitchen.
“We expect to be open in the middle of December,” Cairns wrote.
Basically, he said, a combination of good weather and an efficient contractor allowed COCO to meet its goal of not “sitting on the project all winter” and finishing it during the 2014 construction season. 
“We got a contractor, Naylor and Breen (Builders), we’ve worked with before, and they were able to jump through the hoops and get things done quickly,” Cairns said.
When the construction dust settles on a 9.7-acre site about a half-mile south of Ferrisburgh’s town offices and a mile-and-a-half north of Vergennes, a 4,800-square-foot building will stand. That building will house a 2,600-square-foot Jiffy Mart convenience store and 2,200-square-foot, 34-seat McDonald’s with a drive-through window.
Parking will handle 54 vehicles, gas and diesel fuel pumps will have peaked canopies, and courts have agreed with the Ferrisburgh Zoning Board of Adjustment that proposed landscaping will provide effective screening.
The court decision also brought to an end Shelburne residents Marcos and Claudia Llona’s venture in Ferrisburgh. They operated the Ferrisburgh Roadhouse property, including the restaurant and a small house on about 2.5 acres, until a June 2007 fire destroyed the restaurant structure.
The Llonas first tried to rebuild, but in 2008 agreed to sell the property to COCO. On May 8, they completed the deal, receiving $580,000.
On the same day, former Roadhouse owners Greg and Sue Burdick, who had operated Burdick’s Country Kitchen before selling to the Llonas, sold an adjacent 7.2 acres to COCO for $280,000 and another 17.07 acres of conservation land to the rear to the Allandra Farm for $17,000.
COCO required the additional acreage to accommodate all of its plans, which had to be amended along the way to meet town zoning and state environmental requirements.
 Earlier this year, Cairns said the project was the most expensive and one of the most complex of COCO’s 34 similar projects, which locally include a site in New Haven Junction.
Opponents in Ferrisburgh had criticized COCO’s proposal as being out of scale with the area and contrary to provisions of the town plan. But the zoning board and then the courts ruled the project conforms to the Highway Commercial zoning district in place along Route 7 and that it would not have an undue adverse impact on the area.
The Environmental Court did over-rule the zoning board and allow COCO to have a drive-through restaurant window, stay open longer hours, and sell diesel fuel on the site.
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].

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