Future of Winooski’s ‘mansion’ still unclear

Local News

The future of one of Winooski’s oldest homes has been up in the air for most of this year…and after a meeting of the city’s Development Review Board, its future is still unclear.

At 109 Main Street, two blocks away from the Winooski Circle, you can find a home more than two centuries old that many people in the Onion City call ‘the mansion’.

In March, its owner, Jeff Mongeon, filed a permit to combine it with the house next door at 101 Main Street and the house around the corner at 18 Mansion Street into a single property. Mongeon also owns the other two homes.

At the same time, he sought city permission to tear down all three homes in favor of a new, 75-unit apartment complex.

“I know the state’s supportive,” Mongeon said. “It fits the vision of the city. Affordable housing is a big focus right now. People are leaving the state because they can’t find housing; it’s very expensive.”

Winooski’s zoning administrator, Eric Vorwald, approved both of Mongeon’s applications. Two people who live on Mansion Street — Joseph Gamache and David Carter — filed an appeal.

“You really can’t involve a residential/commercial lot in a project that’s in the Gateway District; it’s just not in the code,” Carter said. “The zoning administrator should have referred this to the Development Review Board and chose not to.”

The Development Review Board held a public hearing in June before deny the appeal.

“I had to file an appeal with the Environmental Court on both decisions that the DRB made on June 19th, and they have subsequently ordered a hearing on the status of that,” Carter said.

That status conference will be on October 7th.

However, Gamache and Carter have also appealed another zoning decision from late July regarding this same project.

“Because the Environmental Court has these two issues over here, we may lack jurisdiction here on this third issue,” Winooski Development Review Board vice-chair Kevin Lumpkin said. “I understand that we have asked the Environmental Court to have jurisdiction back. They have not yet ruled on that.”

The board voted Thursday night to postpone any action on the latest appeal until its next meeting.

“I have nothing against David (Carter) or Joe (Gamache),” Mongeon said. “I think it’s a bit of NIMBYism — ‘not in my back yard’.”

The Development Review Board’s next meeting is on October 17th.

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