Hannaford forges on with plans for Hinesburg store

By MARK KOBZIK

 

NOTE: This story was updated to reflect developments since the initial report Jan. 25. 

Hannaford supermarkets is not giving up on plans to someday open a store in Hinesburg.

Company representatives filed paperwork last week to reapply for site-plan approval for the project it has tried to break ground on since 2010, according to Hinesburg Town Planner Alex Weinhagen.

At the same time, the company will head back to Vermont Superior Court to revisit several key issues from its Act 250 state land-use permitting process, Weinhagen said.

The new permit application to the town will give Hannaford a chance to obtain that approval again. In November, the Vermont Supreme Court Opponents rejected a town zoning permit for the project and also directed the lower state Environmental Court to revisit part of the Act 250 details of the project.

A key part of the new municipal review will seek to clarify issues surrounding zoning setback requirements and how the project complies with them. Discrepancies in the earlier plans and approvals were part of the court’s focus in overturning the original zoning decision.

The proposed site is the last undeveloped lot in the Commerce Park subdivision north of Hinesburg village along Vermont Route 116. The Maine-based grocery chain would like to build a 36,000-square-foot grocery store and pharmacy on about 4.5 acres in downtown Hinesburg. Plans included 128 parking spaces.

Hannaford has 181 stores in the Northeast, including 17 in Vermont, the nearest being nearly 9 miles away at Taft Corners in Williston.

The proceedings in Superior Court in May will involve the town of Hinesburg, Hannaford, the Vermont Agency of Transportation, and the citizens group Responsible Growth Hinesburg. The court will address the Act 250 issues raised by the supreme court in November.

While the lot is zoned for commercial use, the site poses concerns over traffic and stormwater quality. The high court directed the Environmental Division of Superior Court to revisit parts of the plan including Hannaford developing a post-construction traffic study and involving VTrans regarding possible traffic signals. The Supreme Court also agreed with Responsible Growth Hinesburg over stormwater concerns related to a berm in the project design. That issue will also be part of the new court review.

Catherine Goldsmith with the citizens group called for a more rigorous process.

“We’re not an opponent of development as long as transparency and environmental rules are respected,” she said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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