by John McClaughry
Everybody in Montpelier is already well aware of the decades long and now abandoned Capital Plaza hotel and parking garage project, but for the benefit of others let me quote Charles Martin, of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce.
Says he, “The project was approved by an Act 250 panel, the Development Review Board, the Design Review Board, and Montpelier voters. The City has invested more than one million dollars in the pr0oject, that will now have to be paid back in property taxes instead of parking garage revenues…The Bashara family, owners of the Capitol Plaza, will forfeit over a million dollars because of legal fees related to an endless appeals process and the project’s subsequent cancellation.”
“Montpelier loses fifty to 60 construction jobs, thirty to fifty hotel jobs, and the State of Vermont loses an estimated $300,000 in annual rooms and meals tax revenue.”
“Perhaps most upsetting in the wake of an economically devastating pandemic, Montpelier and nearby businesses will not experience the widely anticipated increase in hotel guests that the new venue was expected to generate for local shops and restaurants…”
“A small group was able to derail the project… the Act 250 appeals process has evolved into a costly and reliably dilatory tactic often used by groups unwilling to accept development proposals that have broad community support.”
I voted for Act 250 fifty years ago, and hoped this wouldn’t happen. Silly me.