July 18th, 2019

This Project Needs to Proceed in a Pragmatic, Thoughtful Way

To The Editor,

I am one of the signatories on the petition filed with the Montpelier Development Review Board (DRB) for party status on their soon-to-be-issued decision on the Capital City public parking garage. Nineteen residents signed this petition listing concerns about the project which combines the proposed 348 space parking garage with the Bashara family’s 81-room Hampton Inn and Suites project. Since our filing, a number of us have been met with derision and suggestions that our action was in fact a method to derail the Bashara project and oppose downtown development. Whether or not some of us may personally oppose the project per se, such opposition is not the reason or basis for the petition. While I share my view with others on the list, I will only speak to my position. I do not oppose downtown development. I support the Bashara family and always have. What I am concerned about are missing steps as a result of the expansion of the project and questions that were not answered before residents voted favorably for the $10.5 million project. My concern is to ensure that the City does not move too fast and set ourselves up for failure. This project is too massive and too expensive to skip steps. This project needs to proceed in a pragmatic, thoughtful way, and not ride on the coat sleeves of what one of my close friends who was born and raised here describes as Montpelier’s “Disneyland” mentality.

Dot Helling, Montpelier

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