Supreme Court finds for Dollar General in zoning appeal; Act 250 appeal still pending

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On Thursday, June 11, a three-judge panel of the Vermont Supreme Court heard an appeal by opponents of a 9,100-square-foot Dollar General store proposed for a parcel directly across from the Country Girl Diner on Main Street in Chester.

Proposed Dollar General store for Chester.

Proposed Dollar General store for Chester.

The following day, the “rocket docket” as the panel is known filed an opinion rejecting the appeal and affirming the environmental court’s decision.

The appeal hinged on the opponents’ contention that Chester’s Development Review Board rejected the only expert testimony offered at the hearings – that of landscape architect Jean Vissering – without explaining the basis for the rejection.  Jim Dumont, attorney for the appellants, argued that rejecting the testimony was not the problem, but rather the problem was the lack of a rationale by which the rejection could be understood and appealed.

The panel disagreed with Dumont, writing that the five-member DRB had specifically stated that it had considered Vissering’s argument and rejected it based on its own findings.

In November 2014, the full court heard arguments in an appeal of the decision to give the project an Act 250 permit based on questions of flooding and aesthetics.  To date, the court has not rendered a decision.

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