Developer disputes growth management expirations (1/28/10)

Jan. 28, 2010

By Tim Simard

Observer staff

A local developer argued before the Development Review Board on Tuesday night that inconsistencies exist within the town’s growth management allocation system.

Rene Thibault, who is currently developing Churchview Estates in Williston Village, challenged a decision by town planners to not renew building allocation for the senior housing subdivision.

In the town’s growth management system, developers compete annually to build a limited number of units within Williston. They have a limited amount of time to pull the permits necessary to begin construction. Builders can get four-year extensions on their allocation if they file the correct paperwork before the expiration date.

According to Planning and Zoning Director Ken Belliveau, allocation for 10 units in Churchview Estates expired in 2007 and 2008. Thibault and planners learned of the expiration in December. At that time, Thibault asked for an extension, but Belliveau denied the request.

Along with his lawyer, Guy Babb, Thibault argued the town’s bylaws contradicted the allocation expiration listed on his permits. Some allocation permits expire within a year, even though town bylaws state that builders get four years to pull building permits after receiving units in growth management, Babb said.

“We’re not technically asking for an extension because we feel we don’t need one,” Babb told the board. “We’re asking you to enforce the statute as written.”

Board members considered the testimony of Babb and Thibault before tabling any actions until the board’s next meeting, scheduled for Feb. 9.

If the board denies an extension, Thibault would need to re-enter the growth management allocation process in 2011 for a chance to earn back his 10 units, Belliveau said.

The Development Review Board already ruled against two property owners with expired allocations in a meeting last year.