Vt. Supreme Court reverses storage facility decision

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The decision was issued June 23, and reversed a previous Environmental Court decision that found a self-storage facility between the village and Dorset/Manchester border proposed by Bradford Tyler was permitted.

According to the decision, Tyler owns 5.6 acres along Route 30 located within the "Village Commercial" district. The facility would have consisted of three one-story buildings, each 20' by 100', with a total of 72 storage bays customers could rent in order to store items. It was approved by the Planning Commission and a permit was written by the zoning administrator. A group of residents appealed the permit to the Zoning Board of Adjustment, saying it did not fit the definition of "retail sales/rentals," which would be required for it to be in the Village Commercial district.

According to the Supreme Court, the adjustment board voted four to three to not allow the facility. Two members of the nine member board did not vote. Tyler questioned the decision, as a majority of the total board had not made the decision, and the matter went to the environmental court.

"The Environmental Court granted (Tyler's) motion and denied the neighbor's, holding that the proposed use was permissible as 'retail rental,'" according to the decision.

The higher court said the neighbor's contend that the facility is not "retail rental" as meant by the wording in the bylaws, and went on to say it would not be storage for individuals, but for companies. Tyler argued against that, saying words in the bylaws that rely on common dictionary definitions are too vague. He also disagreed with the nature of intended clients.

Tyler was represented by attorney David Cooper, of Kenlan, Schwiebrt, Facey, & Gross, P.C., of Rutland, while the group of neighbors opposed to the project hired Robert Woolmington, of Witten, Woolmington, & Campbell, a Manchester firm.

"We hold that the plain language of the bylaws precludes (Tyler's) self-storage facility," the Supreme Court wrote. It said the business would not sell or rent goods or services and was not a store or a shop.

Both attorneys said the decision largely speaks for itself.



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