Timeline - Nov 2010 - Fall 2017

2018- Hannaford reapplies to the town of Hinesburg.  Hearings begin April 17.  Appeal of storm water permit delayed until resolution of local hearings.

2017-  Site plan and zoning appeals heard by Vermont Supreme Court. Decision issued 11/9/17 vacates site plan (zoning) permit and requires that VT Agency of Transportation be involved with plans for traffic light. 

Stormwater permit issued in September and appealed to Superior Court by RGH.

2016 - Judge Walsh rules for Hannaford but in that decision requires the company to install a traffic light in front of Hinesburg Public House.  All parties, including Town of Hinesburg, appeal to Vermont Supreme Court.

2015 - Appeals heard by Judge Thomas Walsh in Superior Court, Environmental Division. November 30-Dec 2, 2015.  Following pretrial disclosure of  problems with the application, Stormwater permit pulled for reconsideration by Agency of Natural Resources.

-New applications submitted for Hannaford project as a requirement of Nov 2012 approval. Three out of four applications DENIED by Hinesburg DRB in May 2014.  One application approved but decision will be appealed in Superior Court. 

- Act 250 "Regional Commission # 4". - hearings completed and application denied based only on Hinesburg's lack of water supply.   All state agencies have approved their separate parts of the application (stormwater permit later revoked).  RGH has appealed this decision since it ignores many important facts in the case.

- VT State wetland process is separate from Act 250.  Wetland reclassification (downgrade in status) was approved and has been appealed by RGH.

-Application to federal Army Corps of Engineers to fill lot 15.  Public comment period ended Dec 27, 2013. Vermont's Agency of Natural Resources gave an OK to proceed to the Army Corps in July 2014.  Permit issued August 2014.

In 2012:  Hannaford Plan Approved by Local Board
- November 2012

Hinesburg's Development Review Board voted to approve the application to build a Hannaford store on Lot 15 of Commerce Park.  The vote was split 4-3, indicating a strong division within the group.  A dissenting opinion was written by board member Greg Waples.

The project was approved with the imposition of many conditions, meaning additional things that the company must do before beginning construction.  These include getting permits and approvals from the town's Selectboard, as well as Vermont's Act 250 and stormwater agencies.  The conditions also including putting money up front in an escrow account in case the town determines, via traffic studies, that additional traffic control measures are necessary. These could include a widening of the road and bridge just north of Kinney Drugs and/or a traffic light at the intersection of Route 116 and Mechanicsville Road.

The decision by the DRB has been appealed to Superior Court, Environmental Division by both Hannaford and Responsible Growth Hinesburg.

History (2010-2012) leading up to the local DRB decision:

The hearings closed on July 17, 2012 but then reopened in October for a final narrow discussion of the provision of an area for a farmers market and whether this fulfilled the intentions of the "Official Map" designation. 

June 6, 2012 - The Hannaford group  presented a balloon float during a site visit to Lot 15 to demonstrate the dimensions of the proposed building.  The engineers also staked out the parking lot boundaries, retaining wall heights and the property lines. At a later site visit with the Act 250 board, the developer was evasive in answering questions about the store.  The markers are still there.  Park and stand next to the proposed walls and in between the poles to get a sense of the true size.  Try walking along the canal path to see how incredibly close the building and parking lot will be to this valuable community resource.  In November 2015, a new marker was placed which indicates the true closest point of the building.

June 5, 2012 - The new corrected design is unveiled.  Walls restored to 21' feet tall and new height of 26 '9".

May 15: David White presented a new store design for Hannaford with 18' walls.  This improved design turns out to be a mistake and is later retracted.  Check the town website to see the plans and the Powerpoint presentation.

Feb 2012 - May 2012 - Hearings on recess by Hannaford request.

February 21: Representatives for Hannaford finally admitted that plans submitted in November 2010 do not include treatment of stormwater from the project.  The so-called state of the art system detains but does not treat the first flush of rain which typically contains chemical contaminants. On the traffic front, Hannaford has accepted a proposed peak hour rate of 386 trips (~193 shoppers in an hour). (keep in mind that the peak hour is defined as the 30th worst traffic hour during the year).

January 17: postponed

January 4, 2012: Two hour deliberative session on Hannaford (board in private session)

December 20, 2011: Traffic presentations by Hannaford Consultant and rebuttal by Oman Analytics, hired by Responsible Growth Hinesburg.

November 15: Presentations by Village Steering Committee, Conservation Committee, Hinesburg Village Vision (pro-Hannford community group) and RGH members and consultants. No presentation by Hannaford.

October 18: postponed.

September 2011: Presentation of revised design without drive-through pharmacy and other changes (photo above).

May 2011 - Sept 2011 - Hearings on recess by Hannaford request.

Early 2011 - DRB holds hearings on proposal.

November 2010 - Hannaford delivers complete application package with no prior consultation with town staff.


FAQ - These questions and answers are from the Town of Hinesburg website.

What is proposed?
The Development Review Board (DRB) is reviewing Hannaford’s application for a 36,000+ square foot supermarket, including an in-store pharmacy. It is proposed for a 4.6-acre undeveloped lot on Commerce Street, behind the Post Office and the National Bank of Middlebury. This parcel is “lot 15” from the previously approved Commerce Park subdivision, and is owned by the Giroux family trust.

What kind of application is this?
This is a Site Plan application per section 4.3 of the Hinesburg Zoning Regulations. As a “Retail Establishment” the proposed use is permitted in the Commercial zoning district; however, it still requires site plan review/approval by the DRB as does any non-residential development project. Hannaford also submitted two related applications: 1) Conditional Use application for overnight staff in store after 10pm per sections 4.3.6 and 4.2 (Zoning Regulations); 2) Sign application (1 near road, 1 on building) per section 5.4 (Zoning Regulations).

How will the DRB make its decision?
Ultimately, the DRB must decide whether the application is in conformance with the relevant sections of the Zoning Regulations and the Official Map. These land use regulations represent the common “rulebook” that the DRB and all interested parties get to play by. The DRB review is a public process through which the applicant, the landowner, and interested community members can present evidence to inform the DRB before they render a decision. The DRB will hold a series of meetings to hear evidence and discuss various aspects of the project. When they feel they have all the evidence they need, the DRB will close the public hearing and begin deliberating to reach a decision. These deliberations may be in open or closed session, and must result in a formal written decision within 45 days of the close of the public hearing. The power to approve or deny the project at the local level rests with the DRB alone.

With that said, DRB decisions can be appealed to the Vermont Environmental Court. The Hannaford project will also require State level review through the Act 250 permitting process, which will incorporate several State permits (e.g., storm water treatment, changes to the Route 116 right of way, etc.). This project also requires at least one Federal level permit with the US Army Corps of Engineers for proposed impacts to a wetland area.

When did the DRB make its decision?
Hearings began in January 2011, and concluded in October 2012.  The decision was announced on November 7, 2012.

What about this Official Map?
Hinesburg’s Official Map (adopted in May 2009) delineates areas that the community has identified as important for future community facilities – e.g., future roads, sidewalks, community buildings, intersection improvements, etc. In this case, Hannaford is proposing to develop a parcel that was identified on the Official Map as a location for future community facilities. Examples of the types of community facilities envisioned are included in note #3 (upper right corner of the map), and include, but are not limited to, “Town Green, Community Center, Fire/Police Station expansion, Farmers Market venue, Parks & Recreation areas, Library relocation.” The Official Map carries the weight of a regulation, and Hannaford must demonstrate that their project can accommodate the future community facility shown on the map. If the DRB finds that the community facility can be accommodated, the Official Map poses no issue. However, according to State statute, “Failure to accommodate the mapped public facility or obtain a minor change in the official map shall result in the denial of the development…”

A denial of the project based in part or wholly on the Official Map starts a clock with regard to the Town acquiring the land or an interest in the land. The Town is under no obligation to purchase the land; however, if the Selectboard has not started proceedings to acquire the land within 120 days from the date of the denial, then the DRB must review the Hannaford application a second time without regard to the Official Map. In other words, the Official Map compels developers to save space for important public facilities in specific areas; however, it also compels the Town to put its money where its mouth is or drop the issue.

Before the DRB review began, the Selectboard, Planning Commission, and Village Steering Committee all had meetings to discuss the Official Map with regard to the importance of lot 15 on Commerce Street. All three boards reaffirmed that this parcel (in part or in whole) is an important location for future community facilities that will be needed as the village area expands and develops. Both the Planning Commission and the Village Steering Committee provided written feedback to the DRB explaining why lot 15 was placed on the Official Map. The Selectboard decided to create a “Lot 15 Committee” to evaluate and move forward with the acquisition of this land if possible. The Lot 15 Committee was charged with several tasks and their reports can be found on the town website.The fiscal implications (tax revenue, cost of services, etc.) of private versus public ownership and use may also become a charge for the committee, as several board members indicated this was an important consideration.


How do I learn more about this application?
Check the Town website for DRB meeting agendas and more information. The Hannaford overview plan and application narrative are already on the website along with our Zoning Regulations, Official Map, and a 3-page overview of how the Official Map works. T