Derek George | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Derek George 
Member since May 17, 2014



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Re: “In Pipeline Battle, Vermont Gas May Be Its Own Worst Enemy

Vermont Gas has been telling Addison County residents that they have been good neighbors in Chittenden and Franklin County. This has not been true on Convent Square in Burlington. In 1966 Vermont Gas brought natural gas to Chittenden County. 1n 1970 they applied for a variance from Burlington to build a gate house station in our Old North End neighborhood to bring gas to the Moran Plant. The neighborhood objected but nonetheless Burlington granted VT Gas a zoning variance on the condition that VT Gas would make their gate house look like a residential home, even though it would have 7 feet of barbed wire fence around it(!) Needless to say their building has never looked anything like a residential home and despite the fact that the Moran Plant stopped operating in 1986, the Vermont Gas gate house remains. Over the years, Vermont Gas has barely maintained this property and let it fall into disrepair over the next 40 years. The one saving grace for us as a neighborhood was that trees slowly grew up around the edges of the property, blending it over time into the landscape of our neighborhood. Two years ago we found the 1970 variance in Burlington City Hall and brought it to the attention of VT Gas. They again made promises to start to take care of their property but then their next step was to hire a logging company and clear cut all the trees that had grown up along the edges of the property for the last 40 years. You can imagine the effect this had on our neighborhood. Critics in Addison County allege patterns of bad behavior from Vermont Gas in the last year. Similar bad behavior has been going on in our neighborhood since 1970 and was renewed in the last 3 weeks with the clear cutting operation that was deceptively slipped by the Burlington planning and zoning authorities. Addison County residents are asking if actions in their area on the part of VT Gas are incompetence or arrogance or both. It has been hard for us to know the answer to this question in our neighborhood because VT Gas has only been forthcoming in their dealings with neighbors when it comes to issues that they want to have go their way. On every other front they are not forthcoming at all and withhold information when it is in their interest. We tried to deal directly with Vermont Gas but found that their goals for their property are to maintain their property in the most minimal way possible (citing as usual that any costs of maintenance are prohibitive because "ratepayers are picking up the tab.") This does not fit well with being a good neighbor when each of us are spending our lives maintaining our own homes right next door and by the way, we are ratepayers too. Be aware if Vermont Gas comes into your neighborhood they will only be acting in their own interests and if their interests change there will be very little you can do.

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Derek George on 05/17/2014 at 8:35 AM

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