To the Editor:
As Hinesburg contemplates acquiring Lot 15 in Commerce Park by eminent domain for public facilities, as well as whether the commercial development potential should be restricted by the Official Map, I recommend that we:
• Prioritize our limited resources
• Enable the highest and best use on Lot 15
• Accept Hannaford’s proposal for public uses (pocket park and farmers market) in Commerce Park.
We must prioritize our resources to save taxpayer dollars. Having public facilities take five acres in a commercial area when other public lands are available nearby is not a wise use of tax dollars or in the public good.
The most compatible use given the surrounding land uses is a commercial use especially when Lot 15 is the only vacant commercially zoned parcel available for a 20,000 square-foot-plus retail use. This land will provide benefits such as jobs, services, tax base expansion and will anchor our village center.
Let’s focus our limited resources developing other publicly owned properties. Let’s encourage commercial development in Commerce Park rather than greenfield development west of Route 116. Let’s take advantage of the traffic lights, roads, utilities, sidewalks, etc. already in place and welcome an anchor store that other businesses and we will benefit from.
If we work with, and not against the current applicant, we can have both public uses and a grocery store to serve our growing needs on the same site. A compromise has already been offered by the applicant and provides a win-win for the developer and the town.