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BRATTLEBORO – Site plans for Vermont Market Place, the former outlet center at Exit 1, have been approved by the Development Review Board by a 6-0 vote.

Another unanimous vote at the August 18 council hearing requires real estate owner Vermont RE Development LLC to comply with a sign zoning ordinance within one year. Zoning administrator Brian Bannon said the existing sign is too tall, too tall, and cannot be lit inside.

“The property came with the sign which was apparently installed in the 90s,” said Paul Belogour, president of the company. (He also owns Vermont News and Media LLC, a new company that acquired the Reformer in May along with Bennington Banner and Manchester Journal.)

Updates to the sign along Canal Street included removing the Outlet Center’s name and adding a Vermont Market Place logo to it with black paint. The sign could not have been “grandfather” under zoning ordinances if the property had not changed, Bannon said.

With construction underway for the property’s renovations, Bannon suggested letting the sign stay in place for one to two years. Belogour asked for a year, expressing hope to change the city’s zoning to allow for a larger sign.

“I think it helps businesses to be easily found by people who are new to the area,” Belogour said, adding that the sign for the nearby gas station “is visible”. Everything else is not. It will only help local businesses.

The site plan calls for the construction of a new parking area and new sidewalks, as well as improved access, landscaping and lighting. Access between the property and the Burger King parking lot will remain.

Alan Saucier, vice president of Pathways Consulting LLC, said the plan is to meet local zoning requirements on the parking lot by having 190 spaces. Saucier had around 116 to 120 seats at the time of the hearing and said the property must have at least 155 seats.

State stormwater regulations will be followed and project managers are working with the state to repair a ditch to allow drainage for the property, Saucier said.

To meet the city’s requirements, the plan is to have seven electric vehicle stations in the parking lot.

The board’s approval for the site plan included conditions requiring the company to ask Bannon to review and approve any minor changes necessary to meet Vermont Transportation Agency requirements for ‘access, as well as any changes to the location of electric vehicle chargers and landscaping. Long rows of parking spaces shall be separated by additional landscaped islands on the south and east sides, with one islet on the east row and three on the south side.

Belogour thanked the board of directors and the city. After Saucier said town staff were very helpful throughout the licensing process, Bannon called the project “awesome.”

“It’s really exciting to see you doing this,” he said.