City Has Spent $15,192 in legal fees through September
by Carla Occaso
MONTPELIER — A second public eminent domain hearing was held November 11 in the chambers of Montpelier City Council to discuss whether a proposed bike path is ‘necessary’ for the public good. If so, the City will have the right to demolish the building that houses Montpelier Discount Beverage and construct a proposed bike path as part of the overall One Taylor Street Transit Center project. Montpelier Discount Beverage is located at 12 Main Street where it intersects with Barre Street.
The first hearing was held October 28. Dozens of citizens at both meetings spoke out in favor of saving the business, but no citizens at either hearing spoke out publicly in favor of the bike path, which would connect two sections of existing bike paths on either side of town.
Speaking at the November 11 hearing were: Donna Youngblood, Mary Shepard, Jonathan Hopkins, Seth Collins, Barbara Scotch, Tyler Green, Lauren Kittredge, William Ledford, Vicki Lane, Roland Pepin, Dawn Little, Chris Mizinski, Marie Mattei, Dave Keefe and Julie Nichol.
Following the public input, Councilor Anne Watson, who was presiding over the hearing, turned the gavel over to Bernie Lambek to resume the eminent domain necessity hearing, meeting minutes state. After hours of testimony and documents were gathered, at 10:10 p.m., the hearing went into recess until December 14.
According to City Clerk John Odum, the two hearings are only the beginning of the eminent domain process.“We are still going through the witnesses that the City has and we have not yet started on the witnesses Mowatt may or may not have,” Odum told The Bridge. “The city hasn’t rested, yet.”
Legal costs in the case of the City of Montpelier’s decision to hold condemnation proceedings have run up to $15,192, Finance Director Sandra Gallup told The Bridge, but that does not include the two hearings.