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Pumped for expansion

Brattleboro Farmers’ Market wants to turn current gas station into parking area, possible year-round market

Commons reporter Olga Peters contributed to this story.

BRATTLEBORO—Representatives of the Brattleboro Farmers’ Market are scheduled to appear before the Development Review Board on Wednesday, Jan. 22, to seek approval for its plan to buy the Planet gas station on 670 Western Ave. and convert the property into a new parking area.

According to an application for a Change of Use permit submitted to the DRB on Dec. 27, 2013, by Adam Hubbard of Stevens & Associates, the Farmers’ Market “intends to purchase the property and convert the land to parking to accommodate the increasing needs of customers. They are proposing to remove the gas pumps, underground storage tanks, and canopy. The convenience store will remain."

Hubbard wrote that, while there are no immediate plans for the 1,118 square foot building that houses the convenience store, “the Farmers’ Market would like to retain the potential use as a neighborhood market, should the demand arise. There might also be a future use for bathrooms and storage.”

According to the permit application, the work is expected to cost roughly $10,000.

The lot that the gas station sits on is 1.1 acres, with 295 feet of frontage on Western Avenue. It sits next to a parking area that has been used by the Farmers’ Market that was put up for sale last year by its owner, Jonathan Chase.

The Farmers’ Market has applied for a grant of just over $6,000 from U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program to purchase the land that it now leases for its vendors and visitors who use the market on Saturdays from May to October.

Most of the land used by the Farmers’ Market sits in the Whetstone Brook’s flood plain. The market currently owns one parcel of land, called the Mallory Lot, that it uses for parking near the Creamery Bridge.

The market is also in the process of negotiating with Green Mountain Power, which owns the land on which the market has its booths and eating area. That land, acquired by the utility in its recent merger with Central Vermont Public Service, had been a proposed site for a CVPS electrical substation.

The parcel that the market has leased from Chase fronts Western Avenue and is used as its upper parking lot. That parcel also contains a house which is not part of the market’s lease. Although the organization has attempted to purchase the parking lot area, the organization and Chase have yet to settle on a price.

Land acquisitions are part of the market’s long-term planning, as detailed in a concept plan compiled by Stevens & Associates in 2005.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #236 (Wednesday, January 8, 2014). This story appeared on page A1.

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