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DRB Approves Lauzon’s Plan for New Building

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Schematic of the parking plan submitted to the City by DeWolfe Engineering Associates PC.

On a 5-2 vote, the Montpelier Development Review Board on Monday approved a revised plan proposed by Barre accountant and developer Thom Lauzon to build a new three-story office building and bank at 105 State Street, the site of a former Gulf Station that is now being used as a parking lot.

The revised plan moves the building to the east in order to make room for three parking spaces on the west side of the building, next to Governor Davis Ave. The original plan proposed that the three spaces be on the east side of the building, next to a right-of-way used by two other properties, a configuration that the board ruled June 1 did not meet  zoning vehicle access and circulation requirements.

The revised plan approved June 15 also reverses the flow through a drive-through bank window on the north side of the building, which will now have an ATM and pneumatic tube kiosk on the northern edge of the property.

Originally, cars would have moved through the right-of-way to the drive-through and then out to Governor Davis Avenue. Now they will enter from Gov. Davis Avenue, travel east and then exit to State Street on the right-of-way. This flow will “blend with the current traffic pattern of 99 State Street,” Lauzon wrote to the board.

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John Russell, owner of the abutting building housing Pho Capital, offered comments critical of the project at the meeting, including a concern that cars lined up to use the bank’s drive-through could back up onto Governor Davis Ave. He said the project was “not designed for the close circumstances of this part of Montpelier” and “does not seem like a good idea.”

The 5-2 vote in favor of the plan came after the Development Review Board deliberated in private and came with three conditions. One requires that the concrete in the building be tinted the same color as the granite, a second requires erosion control measures during construction, and a third requires that an acceptable lighting plan be submitted to the city.

Zoning Administrator Meredith Crandall said she has 45 days to write up the decision, but expects to get it done sooner. Once that it finished, a 30-day appeal period will run, with an additional 15-day appeal period possible depending on when the lighting plan is submitted and the final permit is issued.

The project was approved earlier, on May 4, by the Montpelier Design Review Committee.