Construction restarts at Jack’s Diner; conditional use permit still needed


UPDATE: Reached Wednesday, Nov. 6, state fire marshal inspector Landon Wheeler said that because Dodier made multiple changes to the layout of the diner and additional square footage, the new plans must be reviewed to ensure compliance with any number of building codes. He also is waiting for Dodier to submit paperwork requested three weeks ago.

Wheeler said he has made regular visits to the site over the past few months and communicates with local authorities like zoning administrator Michael Normyle. But Wheeler said he has had a hard time getting Dodier to respond to calls and e-mails. “At this point, I need to speak with the owner,” he said, adding that no stop-work order has been issued to Dodier so he can continue to build.

By Gary Band

It’s been nearly two years to the day since construction to expand and renovate what was once a thriving local business came to an almost complete stop. But recently, work has begun in earnest on what one day soon will once again be Jack’s Diner.

The reconstruction of Jack's Diner on Main Street in Chester in early November. Photo by Gary Band

The reconstruction of Jack’s Diner on Main Street in Chester in early November. Photo by Gary Band

In just the past few weeks, some 10 new windows have been installed, woodwork hammered and cement poured into what has been the most curiously  slow project in Chester. This incarnation of the once popular eatery, located at 512 VT Rt 103 S., is being built to include a bar on the first floor and two rental units on the new second and third floors. The additions have drawn opposition from neighboring communities.

Owner Jacques Dodier, who is doing most of the work himself, declined numerous requests to comment for this story. On Monday, Nov. 4, he was up on the third floor working away, responding as he often does when asked if he can talk for a few minutes about his efforts to reopen the diner: “Come back in two weeks,” he says, not unpleasantly.

According  to Chester zoning administrator Michael Normyle, his office has received some but not all the paperwork necessary to move forward on a conditional use review.

“He has submitted plans for landscaping, lighting and parking,” Normyle said Tuesday, Nov. 5. “We have not received an official application or payment to start a new conditional use review. But he has told me several times that he is very close” to doing so.

Jacques Dodier  “has submitted plans for landscaping, lighting and parking. We have not received an official application or payment to start a new conditional use review. But he has told me several times that he is very close” to doing so.

Michael Normyle
Chester zoning administrator

In the spring and summer of 2011, Dodier had closed his restaurant during the reconstruction of two bridges in Chester that closed the business community off from tourist traffic. At the time, Dodier had received a building permit from the town but was told that any additional and new uses would require him to obtain a conditional use permit that would allow a multi-family dwelling in a property zoned residential-commercial.

In November 2011, the Chester Development Review Board denied the conditional use permit for the expansion of the diner. Normyle said then that the permit was denied on the grounds that Dodier “missed several hearings and has not been responsive, has not provided the requested information to date.”

In January of 2012, the state Fire Marshal halted all construction on the project since Dodier failed to comply with requests for plans detailing sprinkler and fire alarm systems as well as proof of compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Since then, Dodier has apparently been working with the state to come into compliance and has again begun construction.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Filed Under: FeaturedLatest News

About the Author: Gary Band has worked as a reporter and editor at newspapers in Florida, Massachusetts and Vermont.

RSSComments (3)

Leave a Reply | Trackback URL

  1. Randy Miles says:

    Way too large for the space of land. The first thing you see when you come into Chester is a 3 story ugly out of place building? Does not fit the need of the town, only the need of owner. Town should get a handle of this more sooner than later! Take it down!

  2. Mary Jane Miles says:

    I agree Brenden. It’s like saying the check’s in the mail, but it never is. Jack doesn’t have a great reputation for being compliant. What is the height of that building anyway? So has he met state compliance and has a permit to continue? I bet the Dollar General is going to look better than that and they will do it with state approved permits before they build. I want to see compliance before he is able to continue. If not, fine. Then I want the same rules applied to every taxpayer in this town: We can do anything as long as we say we are coming down with that check.

  3. Brenden Donaldson says:

    So if all the paper work is not in why is he building? It’s an insane eyesore nor will it ever be done. The town needs to handle this mess.