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Developer And Environmental Groups Will Try To Reach Compromise On Exit 4 Plan

The developer planning a large mixed-use project at the Randolph exit of I-89 will meet with the environmental groups opposing the plan to try to reach a compromise.

The Conservation Law Foundation and Vermont Natural Resources Council have argued against the project before the District 3 Environmental Commission. 

Late last week, the commission decided to delay its decision after lawyers for the developer asked for extra time to talk with the organizations, “to explore informal and non-adversarial resolution of the contested issues.”

VNRC Executive Director Brian Shupe says any acceptable compromise would result in a scaled-back development that preserves prime farmland at the site.

“To be very honest I think that farming is the best use for that location. It’s an extremely scenic site, it has high quality soils. That would be our preference but we also recognize that the property owner does have some rights to development,” says Shupe.

Because no actual construction is currently proposed, the commission’s review is limited to the impact of the planned development on agricultural land and whether it meets local and regional plans.  

In letters sent to the commission last week, both the Two Rivers Ottauquechee Regional Commission and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets raised concerns about the project.

The agency said the developer’s plan does not satisfy the default requirements for mitigating the impact on prime agricultural soils and said the commission would have to determine whether "appropriate circumstances" exist to authorize suitable farmland mitigation.

The regional commission said the developer has not provided enough information to determine whether the proposed project conforms with regional plans.

The district environmental commission has given the parties until Feb. 18, 2016 to file additional documents.

Steve has been with VPR since 1994, first serving as host of VPR’s public affairs program and then as a reporter, based in Central Vermont. Many VPR listeners recognize Steve for his special reports from Iran, providing a glimpse of this country that is usually hidden from the rest of the world. Prior to working with VPR, Steve served as program director for WNCS for 17 years, and also worked as news director for WCVR in Randolph. A graduate of Northern Arizona University, Steve also worked for stations in Phoenix and Tucson before moving to Vermont in 1972. Steve has been honored multiple times with national and regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for his VPR reporting, including a 2011 win for best documentary for his report, Afghanistan's Other War.
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